It’s a fact of life: moms are busy.

At Alice Carlson Elementary, PTA parents are rushing to finalize plans for the upcoming Walkathon and Intercultural Festival. The second annual Come Walk With Me Walkathon kicks off at 1:30 p.m. Friday.

“This year, the Walkathon is during the school day so that every single child can participate,” said Brandy O’Quinn of the Alice Carlson Healthy Lifestyles Committee. “It’s really to encourage fitness outside the school gym.”

The Walkathon aims to build on to Fort Worth’s fitness initiative by encouraging students, parents and teachers to complete a short walk together.

“One class is working with Brandy to facilitate activities,” said PTA president Christine Jones. “The children are very heavily involved. The PTA just facilitates the children’s initiative. “

Alice Carlson emphasizes its teacher-facilitated, child-based learning mode in the Intercultural Festival, too. The festival begins at 5 p.m. Friday and ends at 9 p.m.

Tamela Adams, chairperson of the Festivals Committee, said the children are expected to develop project ideas themselves.

“Each classroom has been working on a learning game, and children go from classroom to classroom,” Adams said. “They came up with it themselves.”

This year, Alice Carlson will base its 19th annual Intercultural Festival on Texas cultures. Principal Jeannie Robinson said that the festival would cover a variety of cultures, from the trees outdoors to the backgrounds of students to the Alice Carlson staff.

“Different paths and journeys brought us here,” Robinson said. “The kindergarten class wants to know about people. Staff members fill out a brief questionnaire and take a picture with their favorite children’s book.

”In addition to a different activity in each classroom, PTA parents said the festival will include a rotating story hour in the library, a dinner and a basket raffle.
PTA parents said they hope to raise money with the basket raffle, in which each classroom presents a themed basket and guests purchase tickets to place in the raffle. Past themed baskets include TCU, gourmet food and Legos.

Guests can also pledge money toward the Walkathon. Adams said children brought piggy banks to donate to the cause last year, a new gym floor.

“Concrete floors for little knees and little heads didn’t work so well,” Robinson said. “This year’s goal is an art courtyard.”

The students plan to transform the courtyard between the library and main hall. The area currently features a mural of tiles with children’s faces, but the school will add more art soon. Robinson said last year’s fifth graders designed a labyrinth for the space and a group of students will create a kinetic sculpture.

“The good news is that we’ve asked the contractors to start immediately so the children can see the benefits of the fundraising they’ve been doing right away,” Robinson said. “The PTA is standing by us to help make sure the project gets done.”

Alice Carlson requires each family to commit 20 volunteer hours each year. Robinson said the festival provides an opportunity for many working parents to reach their hour commitment.

For PTA parents, this week means continued work to create the perfect walkathon and festival.

“Kids do better in school when parents are involved,” O’Quinn said. “I want to be a good example for my daughter.”