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Shop for a good cause

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By Kirsten Laskey

The Chamisa Elementary School Parent Teacher Organization (PTO) is offering an opportunity to cross items off the holiday shopping list and score some unique finds.

The shopping extravaganza will be from 9 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturday at the elementary school.

About 20 vendors are expected to attend to sell jewelry, photographs, different holiday crafts, hats, scarves, hand-made wallets and gift bags.

The majority of the vendors are from Los Alamos but several may be coming up from Española.

Besides shopping, the PTO is offering other festivities. For instance, breakfast burritos and coffee will be sold in the morning and Kenny’s North Carolina Barbecue will show up around lunchtime for hungry shoppers.

Additionally, Santa will make an appearance from 10 a.m.-1 p.m. and pictures will be for sale for $1 and will be e-mailed to people.

Diana McPherson,          PTO president, said the fair has been held for several years and last year raised $400.

The proceeds mainly go to help teachers purchase school supplies and pay for field trips, she said.

Additionally, the PTO is considering several school improvement projects such as purchasing a new sign and doing some landscaping.

McPherson encourages the community to attend the fair because “there are a lot of good vendors and a lot of artists and crafters … (and) it’s a nice place to get something that’s not off the rack.”

She explained that a lot of products are original and hand-made.

 The arts and crafts fair is just one effort the PTO uses to raise money. Another fundraiser is Current Fund, a Web site that is an ongoing source of revenue for the PTO. People can make purchases on the website and half the proceeds will go toward the PTO.

The Web site kicked off in September.

McPherson said, “We try to get parents and teachers together to help out the teachers and help out the students and to raise money to help fund some of their supplies and projects that they’re doing.”

Another effort underway does not involve money but still strives to support the school.

The PTO, McPherson said, is trying to get parents active in the school. For instance, parents who speak Spanish are invited to help with Spanish lessons on Friday. Or parents who are scientists are encouraged to help fourth through sixth-graders with doing research for their science fair projects.

She said having parents involved in the schools is important because, “we were the kids’ first teachers and it’s kind of nice to continue to do that.”

McPherson added it’s typical for parents to get only get half the report of students’ days at school but by attending school themselves, the parents can see how things are going as well as meet their child’s friends.

Plus, it helps slightly to lighten the teachers’ load.