The Group: Eliza Hart Spalding Elementary PTA, Boise, Idaho.

The Setting: A special grandparents' luncheon. On the menu for the school's 650 students: a precious moment at the lunch table with grandma or grandpa, and free ice cream courtesy of the PTA.

The Idea: Make grandparents comfortable enough to return as reading helpers, says Beverly Sherman, former PTA president. "We figured this could be our chance to explain how much we would welcome their volunteer help."

What Went Wrong: "We had asked...for only grandparents and no siblings, please," Sherman explains, "but the front office people and other PTA people didn't want for a child to feel left out, so no one would say no."

What Happened Next: A gargantuan guest list. "Everyone brought relatives-everyone," Sherman recalls. "Not just grandparents but parents, younger siblings, neighbors—sometimes up to six people per child."

The Outcome: "Logistically it was horrible, but we got the visitors to go back to their child's class with them and passed out the ice cream in each classroom," she says. "We never got to ask them for their volunteer help, but no one, not even the teachers, complained about the long lines, the late lunch, or the crowded conditions."

Notable Quote: "While it was a marketing flop, people all enjoyed themselves," Sherman reports. "If we were to do it again. it would be by grade level each day of the week to spread it out."

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