Thoreau Elementary PTO

Volunteer Opportunities

Here are open opportunities for the 22-23 school year. If you have just a little bit of time, but none of these suit you, let us know how else you may want to help!

  • Directory - In the past, we've put together an all-school directory. This helps families connect with one another across classrooms and grades. This role involves getting the contact information from our office for all students (for those families who opted in via MMSD) and synthesizing it into a single document for electronic distribution. We have last year's as an example. Reach out to Cherish Orozco if you'd like to help!

  • Tico Trot Committee - The Tico Trot (10/28/22) is our annual fun run and our school's biggest fundraiser. Prior to the event, students can collect flat amount or per lap pledges. On the day of the event, students run laps around the upper playground (front entrance of the school) and get shirts marked (by volunteers!) for each lap. Volunteers are needed to help collect sponsors for the event, organize t-shirts, dj, coordinate snacks, and count laps. Some of these roles are filled with trusty year-to-year volunteers, but more help is needed! Reach out to our 22-23 Tico Trot coordinator, Shana Verstegen, if you're interested in helping!

  • Scholastic Book Fair - The book fair is back! Volunteers are needed to work with our fabulous librarian, Lisa Hempstead, to setup (10/11/22) and also the night of the event (10/18/22). Reach out to Cherish Orozco if you'd like to help!

  • Park Meet-Up Help - Several times a year, we provide meetup opportunities at nearby parks (see calendar for details). We need help hosting. You can help bring the giant PTO jugs w/ice & water, purchase (and be reimbursed for ) snacks, bring your own sports equipment/chalk, and just generally be a kind & wecloming face. Reach out to Cherish Orozco if you'd like to help!

  • Green Space help & Earth Day ideas- A few times a year, the Green Space coordinators, Katie Moore & Steph Judge, get folks together on a weekend to help improve the grounds (spreading mulch, weeding, improving our outdoor classroom spaces, etc). There are also special projects to help with throughout the year. If you a green thumb and/or like working outside, reach out to Katie Moore.

  • Stella's Bakery Fundraiser - This is a delicious opportunity to help our school (November 2022)! Volunteers are needed to help hand out pies and cheese bread to people on the pick-up day. Reach out to Connie Bufford if you're interested in helping out for this event!

  • Teacher Appreciation - We have needs throughout the year to show our teachers some love. We need help setting up for these breakfasts and lunches and putting together thank yous. Kristin Branch and Lindsay Suttin usually head up these efforts, but they need your help! Reach out to Cherish Orozco if you're interested in jumping in and she'll connect you accordingly.

  • Winter Dance - We're bringing this fun event back! Reach out to Kate Aughenbaugh if you're interested in helping out!

  • Spring Rummage Sale - Another big fundraiser has been our rummage sale. In the past, this has been hosted in our gym, an individual's house and most recently at our Adopt-A-School Partner Westminster Church (they graciously donated their space). This event includes planning a date, facilitating dropoff of donations on day(s) leading up to the event, setting up, running the event, recruiting volunteers to setup and run the event, and coordinating a pickup of remaining items (traditionally St. Vinny's.). Reach out to Cherish Orozco if you'd like to help!

  • Yearbook - The end of school yearbook an awesome keepsake for all our students. The work here involves taking pictures at events throughout the year, pulling these and school pictures together using software (can suggest what was used in the past or you can use what you'd prefer), getting permission from families (levergaing help from teachers) to include students in the yearbook who didn't opt in via the MMSD enrollment process) and working to get it printed for our 400+ students. While our awesome past PTO president took this on herself, this is likely the job of a committee. Reach out to Cherish Orozco if you'd like to help!

  • End of the Year Ice Cream Social - Do you have strong ice-cream scooping arms and/or a desire or ability to haul tubs of ice cream, toppings, and supplies to the park? We'd love your help. Reach out to Stacy Mellenthin if you'd like to help!

  • Recess Help - In the 2021-2022 school year, Thoreau implemented a recess suppport program. Principal Dan Davidson hopes to bring this back soon. In the meantime, you can get your volunteer training taken care of which will allow you to participate as well as volunteer for other in-school volunteering and/or class field trips! **More details to come on this.

  • Other - Do you have a great idea for a community event that you want to help organize? Email

Complete your Volunteer Training:

This training is required of all volunteers (community and family) and non-MMSD personnel who come into school buildings and work with students. Volunteering in other ways with the PTO (back-end organizing, day-of special events, etc.) does not require this training. However, things like attending field trips, other in-class opportunities and/or recess volunteering will require you to be Level 2 certified. This includes completing the following:

  1. Application in Volunteer Tracker

  2. Background check (automatically performed as a part of your application)

  3. COVID-19 vaccination verification

  4. Required training modules (currently three - Learning Forward Together, Covid-19 Health & Safety, Building Safety Protocols)

Please note training is available asynchronously (recorded), and only needs to be completed once. MMSD is committed to anti-racist practices, equity, inclusion, and upholding our core beliefs. These trainings are in alignment with that vision, and it's important for volunteers to have a shared understanding. MMSD places a high value on safety and well-being; these training modules are important for the safety and well-being of students, staff, and volunteers. The objectives of the trainings are: COVID-19 health practices; safety and security protocols; and grounding in MMSD anti-racist mission/vision, identity and relationships, and strategies.