So when it came time to get involved in her children's school PTA, she decided to forgo volunteering directly in the classroom and use her skills to help raise funds for the school. And she does it in a creative way — no pizza kits or pencil sales involved.
“This is the way I can contribute to the school in my comfort zone,” said Johnston, fundraising chair of the John F. Kennedy Elementary School Parent Teacher Association. She has planned several events for the PTA, including a wine tasting last year.
The next fundraiser is set for 6-10 p.m. Saturday at the Loving Touch. The ladies-only, 21-and-older event involves a clothing swap, free mini spa services, appetizers and desserts. The cover charge is $15 for attendees who bring at least five clothing items and $20 for those who come empty-handed.
As opposed to sales fundraisers, Johnston said this event is fun for everyone.
“It's always the parents that are buying that,” she said of items such as pizza kits. “If I can put on an event that's great for the community, and other community people can come and make it a fun event for everybody, then it's a win-win."
Guests are invited to bring currently fashionable, slightly used ladies' clothing and accessories to the fundraiser. Volunteers will arrange the donations while guests receive a welcome cocktail sponsored by Hard Luck Candy Vodka; snack on appetizers and desserts from local restaurants; and receive free mini spa services such as makeup and nail polish by Rouge, chair massages by Greenleaf Bodyworks, henna hand art by Alchemy and hair by Flip. Psychic readings will be available for a nominal fee.
Guests will be able to shop the clothing donations starting at 7:30 p.m. and take home whatever suits them for free — no rules or restrictions. All leftover items will be donated to a local women’s shelter.
“You can put your fun things out there that don't really suit you anymore but will be a great item for somebody else's closet, and hopefully, you'll find that same little treasure too,” Johnston said. “It really fits to Ferndale in its green aspect of reusing, so we like that.”
All proceeds from the event will be donated to the school PTA, which “picks up the slack” for school needs, including purchases in recent years for computer monitors, band instruments, books or assemblies.
Cheryl Salinas-Tucker, owner of Rouge in Ferndale, is a JFK parent who is also involved in the PTA.
“I totally believe in the cause because my daughter goes to school there, and it's such a great school," she said. "There's just so much going on.”
She decided to donate spa services to help out with the event.
“We need to shake things up a little bit,” she said, agreeing with Johnston's unique take on fundraising events. “Her previous fundraisers have been great. … I'm really all about working toward different ways to get the job done, anyway.”
In addition to appetizers and the reserved space for the event, Johnston also brings her planning expertise to the table. "It is my business to plan events," she said. "I've planned everything from weddings to birthday parties, anything big and small, so it does come naturally to me."
Janine Souther, manager at Cupcake Station in Ferndale, said the business is always looking for ways to give back to the community.
"He's always interested in giving back and helping out, especially for the kids for school events," Souther said of Cupcake Station owner Kerry Johnson. "He is very dedicated to donating back to the community."
Johnston is grateful for local business owners who have contributed to the event. “All of these wonderful people have donated their services,” she said.
Johnston said guests will get a big bang for their buck Saturday — clothes, a drink, appetizers and desserts, spa services — and, of course, fun with friends.
“It's ridiculous. I can't imagine why people wouldn't come,” she said. “It should be a great time.”
For more information, email Johnston at firstname.lastname@example.org.