Did you know? CECPTA has five playgroups, one for each age group. Each group is headed up by a fantastic playgroup coordinator, listed below:
- Yellow Group (children born 9/2015–8/2016): Angelique Lawless
- Purple Group (children born (9/2016–8/2017): Jennifer McKee
- Blue Group (children born 9/2017–8/2018) Jenn Morales (see here for a previous spotlight on Jenn)
- Green Group (children born 9/2018–8/2019): Sarah Bennett
- Red Group children born 9/2019–present): Lauren Reynolds (see here for a previous spotlight on Lauren)
As the Member Connections board member, I get to invite, train, and meet up with these terrific playgroup coordinators each month to plan together. Coordinators are the friendly faces behind the email and Facebook announcements you get for your playgroup. They help us all stay connected with each other by organizing hosts for weekly play dates and seasonal parties. They’re also there to help new members integrate, remind us about general CECPTA happenings, and facilitate friendships through virtual and live events. Three new coordinators have joined us since the fall, so let’s get to know them!
Our new Yellow playgroup coordinator is Angelique Lawless, leading our oldest group through the end of the year until many start kindergarten in the fall. Angelique, her husband and daughter, Kayleigh, joined CECPTA four years ago. Angelique has served on the board in past years as a Nursery chair and a Silent Auction chair and now serves as Secretary.
What does she love about CECPTA? “I love the mommy friends and support that I have made and all the little friends my daughter has made. I also love how people share recommendations from food to schools, to potty training and everything in between.” She goes on to say that the best parenting advice she ever got was, “She won’t go to college in diapers.” This counsel was especially helpful as she worked with Kayleigh to hit that amazing milestone of being potty trained!
Angelique grew up in Irving, Texas, and is close friends with her younger brother. Every year, they take a road trip to Colorado to see family. Those road trips made for some great memories.
Given a wish for one thing, she says she would wish for more confidence. As she says—and many would identify with this—“I wish the feelings of ‘I’m not good enough’ or failing at being a good mommy would never happen.” Her desired superpower would be to know people’s true feelings.
Angelique’s big heart makes her a great asset to CECPTA. She is true to herself and accepting of others. She’s not one to take herself too seriously, probably evident in her liberal use of the “facepalm” emoji. The best way to her heart is through her particular, favorite Starbucks order: “Venti mocha frappuccino with nonfat milk, no whip cream, only 1 pump of Frappuccino roast, 2 pumps of mocha sauce, 2 pumps of toffee nut syrup, extra cinnamon powder, chocolate powder, and mocha drizzle on top.” Get that right, and she’ll be your best friend. But she probably would be anyway.
Next, we have Jennifer McKee, serving as our Purple playgroup coordinator since September 2020. A CECPTA member since November 2019, Jennifer has also helped CECPTA with Hospitality needs and Fundraising needs.
Jennifer’s son Oliver is in the Purple group and her son Arthur is in the Red group. As a parent, she says it’s important to “listen to your instincts. Our mama hearts know more than we give them credit for.” She herself grew up in Cedar Park, TX (a suburb of Austin), as the oldest of four siblings and jokingly says that her “bossiness growing up has hopefully developed into leadership skills.”
As a former middle school choir director, Jennifer has honed her leadership skills in various ways. Now as a playgroup coordinator, she is building community among her Purple families. She loves the community support that CECPTA offers and the opportunity to build relationships with other families. “It takes a village to raise a child,” she says.
Jennifer has a great sense of humor that lightens the mood and makes others feel comfortable. She also has a positive attitude and a streak of sarcasm. Her desired super power would be “not needing sleep because as a parent, what is sleep anyways?” To list a few of her favorite things: “Coffee, iPhone, Birkenstocks, the book Untamed by Glennon Doyle, and the sounds of my kids laughing.”
Our new Green playgroup coordinator is Sarah Bennett, who began January 1, though she’s been a CECPTA member since 2017. She has helped in several board and committee positions, including on the Children’s Program and Silent Auction team.
Sarah and her husband have a son, Henry, in Purple group and a daughter, Cora, in Green group. However, Sarah says that her favorite member of the family is a Roomba (robot vacuum)—“Seriously. I don’t know how I managed before having one.”
Sarah’s from Mesquite, TX, and grew up with one older brother. She’s a huge fan of Texas (especially the pecans), although she wouldn’t mind leaving for a scenic tour of Europe. As a kid, she loved Nickelodeon; now she’s a big fan of The Office and tried to watch all the seasons before Netflix removed it. “Sadly, we only made it to Season 5,” she says.
If she could have an unlimited amount of one thing, she says, “Sounds cheesy, but those belly laughs from my son. He’s a tough cookie, but when something strikes his funny bone, he has the best laugh.”
CECPTA has been a great part of her experience as a parent. “I love and appreciate all of the different opportunities that CECPTA has provided my family. From volunteer opportunities to social events, to playgroups, CECPTA has given so much to our family. I am so thankful for the people who make things happen, the people who come to play, the friendships I have formed, and the opportunities we are given.”
With all that she loves about CECPTA, Sarah has already been eagerly creating opportunities for her playgroup to meet and greet. She’s got a lot of fun plans for the upcoming months, too.
We’re so thankful for the service of Angelique, Jenn, Jennifer, Sarah, and Lauren as our current playgroup coordinators! Coordinators can serve for a one-year commitment or longer, so consider marking this position on your interest form as a way to get involved in CECPTA!
Interested in getting to know these amazing mamas and many more like them? Join the CECPTA! We have weekly playdates, educational socials, parent and child education programs, and more to support your family during the early childhood years. If you are interested in becoming a member, all you have to do is complete the two-step registration process. Feel free to reach out to our Enrollment Chair with any questions!
Are you feeling *LUCKY* this March? Watch our Facebook Page for a special membership offer coming later this month!
About the Author
Leah married Greg, her best friend, five years ago, and they have a 3-year-old daughter, Zoe, in Blue group and a 1-year-old son, Russell, in Red group. Leah taught elementary school before becoming a full-time mom. In her free time, Leah loves to read—especially historical fiction—and run, although it’s more of a slow jog at this point. She is the Member Connections board member, and she enjoys overseeing seven committees: Playgroups, Events, Educational Socials, Parents’ Night Out, and Sunshine Meals. She’d love an extra hand to help out, so send her a message at email@example.com.