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Provo parent recognized as Utah PTA Volunteer of the Year

By Shelby Slade daily Herald - | Apr 19, 2017

Provo resident Emily Nelson is being recognized as the Utah State PTA Volunteer of the Year for her efforts to make the schools and the school district a better place.

Nelson, who has three children in the Provo City School District, has been volunteering with PTA for more than 15 years and continues to serve at Spring Creek Elementary even though her children no longer attend school there.

“(Some people) are doing something in their wards or congregations, and there’s a huge number of people serving in our city,” Nelson said. “I thought I’d get involved with PTA. It’s where I found my niche and I’m happy to help.”

While serving in the PTA at Spring Creek where many of her children attended, she is also involved with the PTA at Centennial Middle School and the school district level. She’s also been treasurer at several of those schools in the past.

Ashley Rayback, PTA President at Spring Creek Elementary, said Nelson is a kind person who’s always willing to give of her time.

“She’s just a really nice person and just really willing to help at any level,” Rayback said. “She doesn’t have to be running it (the event). She will stand for two hours and blow up balloons, so it doesn’t have to be a big task for her to be committed.”

“She’s just really committed to PTA, our school and seeing it succeed,” she added.

One of Nelson’s biggest focuses within PTA at Spring Creek Elementary is the Christmas store, which gives students a chance to buy gifts at low costs for their family. Rayback said this is a big event for the PTA, which Nelson has been incredibly important in continuing.

“Because of the demographics of the school, they don’t have parents who can hand them a $20 and say go buy gifts,” she said. “So we started a Christmas store where everything is inexpensive. … You have kids come in with $40 and some with $4, and they come in with their pennies and want to buy stuff for their family.”

They also expanded the store several years ago to reach more students by working with teachers to find out who doesn’t get a chance to shop at the store and they use their Secret Santa fund to help those students out, too.

Nelson, who has four children, said she’s also received a lot from PTA. It’s where she has made friends, helped her get to know the school better and benefitted her children.

“They are helping and they got used to helping, talking with the principal and teachers, communicating with people and they’ve gotten comfortable with serving,” she said. “I think I’ve gotten more blessings back from PTA than I’ve given because of my friends and how it’s helped my kids.”

Nelson said she was honored to be recognized, but she knows there’s many people who serve in the community that also deserve recognition.

“There are so many incredible people who could be PTA volunteer of the year,” she said. “I could name 30 people that I’ve had the pleasure of working with who deserve it.”

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