When Cristina Niver first enrolled her oldest daughter in PreK3 at All Saints Catholic School, she didn’t have to look far for support from fellow parents at the school.
“My mentor family through the All Saints Home and School Association was the Hugg family, and I got to know Caroline Hugg,” Cristina says. “In building our relationship and just seeing how involved they were with the school, it really inspired my husband and I to do the same.”
Cristina is paying forward the generosity she experienced when she was a new school parent as the current President of the All Saints School Home and School Association (HSA) — a community of school parents and caregivers who dedicate themselves to serving the school.
“As a parent at the school, you are automatically a part of HSA,” Cristina says. “So we try to make sure that we have a lot of engagement with the greater parent community so that they can feel comfortable volunteering. It is one of the biggest ministries in our community, just from the perspective of the sheer number of parents involved.”
The All Saints HSA primarily supports the school in the areas of teacher support, community-building, social outreach, and fundraising.
Through the Teacher Treats program, HSA volunteers show their appreciation for the hard work that our teachers do to educate students by bringing a themed sweet treat for teachers on the first or second Thursday of each month. HSA members also stock the teacher’s lounge with snacks in preparation for teacher in-service and the first day of school. In addition, they provide meals for teachers during especially busy times throughout the academic year, such as parent/teacher conferences and the week before the start of the Lenten season.
The HSA also organizes and supports community-building activities for students throughout the year, including holiday parties and the annual Field Day. Each April, HSA volunteers coordinate a special daddy-daughter dance and mother-son event to give students an opportunity to hang out with their parents, caregivers, and classmates in a fun environment.
The fun isn’t exclusive to our students, however. The HSA also sponsors several events that provide social outreach opportunities for school parents and families. The mentor family program pairs new school parents with veteran school families who can answer questions and provide support throughout the year. The fall New Family Reception is a cocktail party where new families, their mentor families, and key school and parish leadership representatives can get to know one another and exchange ideas. And the Dad’s Club offers school fathers an opportunity for fellowship during post-carpool coffee chats, as well as a chance to give back to the school community through an annual school beautification project.
Finally, the HSA supports the school through numerous fundraising events and activities each academic year. SCRIP gift cards, Box Tops for Education, and Spirit Wear sales provide the school with much-needed financial support to help our teachers and administrators empower our more than 330 PreK3- through eighth-grade students with a top-notch education.
“Talent is something that is so precious, and it is something that our parents give so much of in very diverse ways,” Cristina says. “They are passionate about their role, and they want to give back to help the school.”
For Cristina, participating in the HSA represents an act of stewardship — a chance for her to express how important her own Catholic education has been to her, and to share that legacy with her children.
“I grew up at St. Rita, and I went to Ursuline, so Catholic education and community are incredibly important to me,” she says. “I am still best friends with my friends from St. Rita. I wanted to find a place where my girls could experience that as well, and I really love this tight-knit community that is All Saints. I’m a firm believer that when you love something, you become involved and you work to nourish that thing.
“It became apparent to us when we became involved at All Saints that this is a special place and one that we wanted to become involved in,” she adds. “My closest friends today are other parents at All Saints, and I feel very blessed to say that because that’s not always easy to find. I’m happy that, through this role, I am able to help cultivate that sense of community, and of feeling at home. I really wanted to pass that forward and to be intentional about it.”
For more information on the All Saints HSA, or to participate, contact Cristina Niver at 214-734-7051 or email@example.com. Or visit our website: www.allsaintsdallas.org/hsa