SRPs give back
The NYSUT SRP Leadership Conference is always marked by generous hearts and open wallets, and this year was no exception.
The Newburgh city schools received 436 new books for young readers, brought by attendees from dozens of local unions in an annual outreach gesture.
"Without your dedication and service children would not reach their goals," Dawn Fucheck, the Newburgh school board president, told the 240 SRPs at the presentation. "Literacy is key to student success, and that's why your gift is so appreciated."
She was joined at the conference by Judy Le Roy, Newburgh Teachers Association vice president; Sheila Manning, president of the NTA's SRP chapter; and 10 Newburgh activists.
SRPs also donated a large number of toiletries to a local family shelter, and raised $2,160 for the union's Disaster Relief Fund by selling tickets for gift baskets made by members.
The Ogdensburg Educators Association, a Local Action Project member, has built a long history of springing into action to help out the school and community. Each year the local donates $4,000 to Ogdensburg Command Performance. The union's donation covers a week-long educational residency by the Montana-based Missoula Children's Theater International.
"They train kids in theater, acting and makeup. They do workshops in each school," said the local's president, Richard Platt. The visit ends with a theatrical production.
The OEA also hosts a station annually at the American Cancer Society Relay for Life. Their booth has a professional massage therapist for chair massages, health screenings, and refreshments.
Visitors can have skin tests, cholesterol checks and calculate their Body Mass Index. The massages, Platt said, "are for survivors and family members to come, sit and chill out for a bit." To keep it fun, the volunteer educators stage a scavenger hunt with health questions. Participants have to find facts around the school track where the event is held.
Prior to the event, OEA members host a mini relay where students learn about nutrition, healthy eating and physical activity.
Teachers wanting to help raise money for the ACS perform original stunts like being duct-taped to a wall. Students pay $1 for a yard of duct tape. Educators have raised $9,000 in two years, Platt said.