Sonia BerginPhoto by Bruce Brown

There’s evidence of Sonia Bergin’s hard work all over Placer Elementary in Loomis, Calif. Thanks to her work on the traffic committee, a paid traffic coordinator directs students before and after school. There’s a new school marquee that the PTC uses to send student birthday messages and advertise volunteer opportunities. And Bergin has accomplished a lot inside the school, too. “If it’s PTC-related, I have pretty much been involved in it in some way, shape, or form,” she says.

Mom to Allison, 12, and Jonathan, 9, Bergin first volunteered as a room parent when Allison was in kindergarten. She then served as room parent coordinator, PTC vice president, and eventually PTC president. She has chaired the group’s annual auction, coordinated ticket sales for the Harvest Festival, and maintained the membership database.

She has also implemented movie events for students on early-release days. “This gives the working parents the opportunity to have their child go to a supervised place where they can have fun with their friends and enjoy a movie,” she says.

Under Bergin’s tenure, PTC leaders updated the computer lab and funded teacher grants, a Spanish program, field trip scholarships, and an art docent program. Bergin also established monthly meetings for all district PTC presidents and the superintendent to discuss collaboration with the local education foundation.

Bergin says she loves helping kids go on field trips and seeing them smile at the Harvest Festival. Volunteering at Placer has been personally rewarding for her on another level, too. “Being in a wheelchair for over 20 years has made me aware that it can sometimes make people uncomfortable, but not here at Placer. They have all been so supportive and I finally felt just like a ‘regular’ parent, not a parent with a disability,” she says. “I have overcome my insecurities and have been motivated to give whatever I can and however I can.”