May Levesque of Arlington is a mother, student and volunteer. She is heavily involved with the PTAs of Snohomish County. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)

May Levesque of Arlington is a mother, student and volunteer. She is heavily involved with the PTAs of Snohomish County. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)

PTA leader Mary Levesque encourages more to volunteer

ARLINGTON — When Mary Levesque sent her oldest daughter to kindergarten, she knew she wanted to get involved with her kids’ schools.

That was in 2000. Five more kids meant plenty of Parent Teacher Associations, and Levesque remains an active advocate for what parents can accomplish through volunteering.

“I think it’s really important for families to participate in the school experience,” she said.

She and husband Ken have lived in Arlington about a decade now. After serving on various Arlington PTAs, Levesque helped start a multi-district PTA council that included Arlington, Darrington and Lakewood. She served for two years as the council’s president and also was treasurer for a time.

Now she volunteers as a regional director on the statewide PTA governing board. Her region includes all of Snohomish County and part of Island County.

Through PTA, Levesque saw how the work benefits not just the school and the children but her family and herself, she said. She met new people, gained new skills and found joy in helping and organizing. It also meant a chance to spend time with other parents.

Levesque oversees more than 100 PTAs, said Kathryn Hobbs, director of the statewide organization.

“She’s willing to take on any crisis and figure out how to fix it,” Hobbs said.

That means helping PTAs plan activities, such as Back to School nights, carnivals and book fairs, but also guiding them through complicated state laws and the management of nonprofit finances.

Every PTA needs volunteers who can advocate for children, Levesque said.

“It’s good for you. It’s good for the school. It’s good for kids,” she said.

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