The Ellis County Early Childhood PTA held its annual “popsicles in the park” membership drive Wednesday in Getzendaner Park, just in time for the rain to stop.

Serving as a subdivision of the National PTA, this local organization was created to give parents a head start on what’s going on in their child’s life at an early age.

The membership drive is a way to recruit new and interested individuals who share the same common interest of the members — their children.

“This membership drive is just a way to have moms come and meet us and ask us questions about the organization,” explained hospitality chairman Kimberly Koelzer. “It’s also a good way to show how diversified our group is. I mean, we all have different interests but we all have that one interest in common and that’s our children.”

Standing strong with 56 mothers and 86 children, the group meets once a month at the First United Methodist Church to discuss children-parent related topics such as children’s health, operation mom, how to have a happy marriage, personal organization and others.

“We try to have a program with an open discussion that coincides with everyone’s interest, whether it’s organizing your life with children or what we as parents can learn from our children,” Koelzer explained.

Koelzer, who joined the group last year, said that being a member has been very rewarding to her and her child.

“When I joined last year, I was immediately welcomed in by everyone,” she recalled. “Moving from Austin, we didn’t know many people and they all just welcomed us in with open arms. Within this one year, I feel that I am a part of this community.”

Chapter President Chris Ewing remembered joining the group a few years ago and how the members welcomed her with outstretched arms.

“I’ve been a member for three years and since day one, the group has been extra welcoming to me,” Ewing said. “I think we all say ‘thank God we all found this group’ because they are so open to ideas and just so welcoming.

“We are a very diverse group but our common thread is our children,” she continued. “With this organization, we just want to do something for the community and for our children. We love to learn different things from different people in our group.”

Member Anne Westmoreland said she enjoys just being able to meet other people who share the same interests as she does.

“I have two children and this just gives me a chance to meet more nice moms and their children to have more fun things to do,” Westmoreland said.

ECECPTA is also involved with community service projects by holding fund-raisers to assist them in raising funds for the organization’s operating costs and also designate one local service organization each month to find ways of helping that particular organization.

“We look to them to tell us what they need from us and we’ll try to do what we can for them,” Koelzer said. “That’s also a good way for us to show our children what we do as members of the PTA.”

Door prizes and popsicles were given away during the drive, and T-shirts and cookbooks were for sale. The money raised through membership dues, cookbook sales and other fund-raisers goes toward child care, speaker fees, rental fees and craft supplies for the club.

ECECPTA is a community-wide, non-profit organization that has been serving the community for over 15 years and is dedicated to improving the lives of young children and parents through education, community service and social interaction.

For more information, call (972) 875-2668 or e-mail ececptamembership@hotmail.com.

E-mail Chicarra at chicarra.dense@waxahachiedailylight.com