September 2010 Issue
August 22, 2010

SRPs lead by positive examples

Author: Bernie Mulligan
Source: NYSUT United
Caption: One of the offerings at the health fair the Newburgh SRP local offers is an interactive science presentation about why fruit floats. Photo by Michael Weisbrot.

When local unions strengthen their ties with communities, everyone gains. The local establishes a visible presence, taxpayers gain a better understanding about the quality of education employees, and students, parents and educators get to know each other better.

School-Related Professionals take particular pride in their community role. In Newburgh, teaching assistants sponsored their second annual "starting healthy and staying healthy" fair at a city park. They developed this local outreach project as members of NYSUT's Local Action Project.

Their goal is to "educate parents and students about the health and education issues facing our community," said local leader Joni Mongelli.

In Ballston Spa, Saratoga County, the teaching assistants association, led by Kate Wanerka, sponsored its third annual chicken barbecue. The event funds two annual scholarships for graduating seniors. Since all of the members live in the district, "it makes us happy that we are helping students — some whom we've known since they started school — continue on with their education," Wanerka said.

A NYSUT health program was a catalyst for a health fair at Chippewa Elementary in Suffolk County's Sachem school district. "It was an event to bring health and safety awareness to students, staff and community, and involved events and curriculum leading up to the fair," said SRP leader Cathy Rienth.

The popular "24/7 Let's Go!" program was developed by NYSUT's Health Care Professionals Council to help educators, school nurses and other health care professionals address the obesity epidemic among children.

"We are committed to tackling this issue," said NYSUT Vice President Kathleen Donahue. "We want the next generation to avoid the threats of disease that are associated with obesity."