Regina Packard knows a thing or two—or even nine—about parent involvement. As a mother of nine kids ages 12 to 32, she’s been an active volunteer for nearly three decades. She currently serves as PTO/Booster Club president at North Chicago Community High School, and that’s on top of her job as an office manager. Packard and her husband, Tony, have been avid supporters in their children’s academic success since day one of preschool.

A big bonus of being involved is the open communication she has with teachers, Packard says. “I have grown to understand that the more involved you are in the education of your child, the teachers notice and they know that they have your support in whatever they are working to accomplish with your child,” she says.

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Volunteering at the elementary school was the most fun. “At the elementary level, students are happy about anything you do for them,” Packard says. There, she enjoyed being a guest reader, grading papers, attending field trips, and helping with popcorn Fridays and other fundraisers.

At the middle school level, Packard helped with 8th grade dances and graduation activities. Currently, her days revolve around helping the high school booster club organize home-game concessions and sports banquets, and funding college scholarships for students. “The high school level is more of a challenge, but it’s an adventure while trying to discover what really works!” she says.

In 2009, Packard received the Extra Mile Award from the school district for her volunteerism at North Chicago. She credits the success to a team of dedicated parents and the school’s principal, drama teacher, and athletic director, all of whom give equally for the good of the students. Collectively, they share Packard’s vision: “If each parent could find just one thing they would be willing to do to help in any way, that would make a huge difference in what we can accomplish together,” she says.

Originally posted in 2010.