July 2014
July 02, 2014

Locals in Action

Source: NYSUT United

Baldwinsville TA raises thousands for disaster relief

From left, Baldwinsville TA Vice President Julia Yando and President Beth Chetney congratulate member Kim Charest, center, on winning the local’s most recent disaster relief raffle. The BTA raised nearly $1,500 by raffling off a new iPad, with all proceeds going to the NYSUT Disaster Relief Fund. The BTA, a 2010 graduate of the NYSUT Local Action Project, conducts annual fundraisers to support the NYSUT fund. 

From left, Baldwinsville TA Vice President Julia Yando and President Beth Chetney congratulate member Kim Charest, center, on winning the local's most recent disaster relief raffle. The BTA raised nearly $1,500 by raffling off a new iPad, with all proceeds going to the NYSUT Disaster Relief Fund. The BTA, a 2010 graduate of the NYSUT Local Action Project, conducts annual fundraisers to support the NYSUT fund. The local has raised more than $5,000 in the last three years. Click here for more on the NYSUT Disaster Relief Fund.

Pioneer Faculty Association

Since 2004, members of the Pioneer Faculty Association, led by Kirk Winters, have donated more than $145,000 to support students and the community. The union donated more than $27,000 to local libraries; more than $63,000 in PFA donations have gone to members of the community through Pioneer Corps, a charitable organization of teachers and administrators that helps those struggling with economic hardship. Teachers have also awarded more than $55,000 in scholarships to graduating seniors.

Minisink Valley Teachers Association

Proving that a small local can do big things, the Minisink Valley TA donates $20,000 annually for student scholarships. Ezra Clementson, president of the 289-member local in rural Orange County, said the union has distributed $250,000 in scholarships over the years. The TA also runs a Zumba-thon and a health fair every year. Each year the local gives 20 graduating seniors a $1,000 scholarship. The TA also helps out with the student council program, Minisink Cares, to purchase Christmas gifts for families in need within the school district.

Southampton Teachers Association

The Southampton TA, Southampton school district faculty and community joined forces to host the inaugural Special Olympics-South, East-end based spring games. More than 300 athletes participated in the May 18 event.

Southampton TA building rep Brian Tenety, a coach and physical education teacher, was the driving force behind the games. The day featured track and field events and tennis. Even students got in on the planning: contests were held to design the logos for the brochures and T-shirt designs. Members of the Southampton TA, led by Sean Brand, headed up several committees and volunteered the day of the event.

Niagara County locals

Educators may have had all the fun, but an area charity received the proceeds from the third annual Niagara County Teachers Charity Softball Tournament. Educators raised almost $2,000 for Camp Hope, a free summer program run by the Niagara Hospice for grieving children.

Locals participating in the event included the Starpoint TA, Lewiston Porter United Teachers, Niagara Wheatfield TA, Barker Teachers Union, Newfane TA, North Tonawanda UT and Orleans-Niagara BOCES.

"It was a great day to get together for a charity that makes such a profound impact on families and children in Niagara County," said Starpoint TA's Michael Luick.

Niskayuna, Maine-Endwell SRPs

Leaders from the Niskayuna Educational Support Personnel Association (NESPA) in Schenectady County and Maine-Endwell Support Staff Association (M-ESSA) in Broome County are putting NYSUT's "SRPs Make a Difference" campaign into action to show the integral role School-Related Professionals play in student education.

NESPA created campaign materials to roll out at "Niska-Day," the town's annual community day. Treasurer Erica Reichelt said the local wanted to focus on telling the community who their 150 NESPA members are. Their union tagline sums up the members' role and goal — supporting student success.

By tapping into the voice of a district parent, M-ESSA is sharing the vital assistance that teacher aides provide to ensure all students can learn. Deb Aurelio, a NYSUT SRP Advisory committee member and former M-ESSA president, said the parent letter "underscores how important SRPs are in the education process and it personalizes what our members do."

The "SRPs Make a Difference" workshop will be offered at the 2014 SRP Leadership Conference Oct. 24–26 in Albany. To register or for more info, visit www.nysut.org.

St. Dominic's Staff Association

Thanks to a supportive school environment and the dedication of educators, members of the SDSA are able to incorporate learning and community service in their interactions with students. Chris Ann Garcia, a teacher for 16 years and president of the St. Dominic's SA for the last 12 years, said outreach efforts include creating care packages for U.S. troops, delivering cards to the senior nuns and collecting food. This year, students took on the entire food drive, from making posters to soliciting donations. More than 500 pounds of food was collected — enough to create 625 meals.

United Teachers of Northport

Members of the United Teachers of Northport responded with open arms when seven students — and four families — were displaced by a winter fire. Educators organized a collection of food, clothing, blankets, school supplies and small toys to help the newly homeless families. They also held a fundraiser at a local restaurant. While colleagues were bringing in clothing, a polar vortex descended on Long Island. Working with teachers, social workers and guidance counselors, the UTN was able to supply coats to students, some of their siblings and parents from the outerwear they collected after the fire, reported local president and NYSUT Board member Antoinette Blanck.