March Issue
March 09, 2015

Locals in action: Billiards Bonanza

Source: NYSUT United
Event coordinators John Wedvik (far left), Clarkstown TA, and Kevin O’Connor (far right), Pearl River TA, congratulate, from left: Alvin Santiago, Kirsten Gorman, “cheerleader” Vivian Toledo, Marie Walmsley and Karen DiMenna, all of the Pearl River TA.
Caption: Billiards Bonanza: Thirty-two teams from local unions in Rockland, Orange and Westchester counties celebrated their solidarity and their sharpshooting skills at the inaugural Rockland County Teachers Association "Billiards Bonanza" in late January. Nearly 200 people attended, raising almost $4,500 for the United Hospice of Rockland County. Bragging rights — and the coveted RCTA Golden Cue — went to Pearl River unionists. Above, event coordinators John Wedvik (far left), Clarkstown TA, and Kevin O'Connor (far right), Pearl River TA, congratulate, from left: Alvin Santiago, Kirsten Gorman, "cheerleader" Vivian Toledo, Marie Walmsley and Karen DiMenna, all of the Pearl River TA. The winners beat out a tough team fielded by the Hudson Valley Area Labor Federation. Visit the flickr gallery at www.nysut.org for more photos. Photo by Maria R. Bastone.

Cheektowaga Central Teachers Association
The Cheektowaga Central Teachers Association, led by Jeffrey Kuemmel, donated $500 this winter to the district's Needy Family Fund to purchase grocery store gift cards for community members in need. Recognizing that charity starts at home, the local also purchased grocery store gift cards for CCTA members who were not called back this school year, or those who were called back at a different salary.

Mount Vernon Federation of Teachers
Members of the Mount Vernon Federation of Teachers, led by Jeff Yonkers, raised almost $10,000 during the local's annual Holiday Drive. The MVFT launched the event 10 years ago in response to the district's rising numbers of needy students and families. The need hasn't slowed down — and neither has members' generosity. In addition to purchasing gift cards, the local started an "adopt an angel" project with the help of elementary school social workers. Holiday committee chairperson Carene Domato, MVFT vice president for elementary schools, also reported the superintendent announced a district-wide dress down day to support the union drive

Western NY educators 'sleep out' for the homeless
Members of the Clarence TA and Kenmore TA (along with many students) braved the cold and slept outdoors at events Feb. 6 to raise awareness — and funds — for the poor and homeless in their communities.

Educators Totally Committed held its 28th annual Jerry Starr Ken-Ton Schools Sleep Out. The Ken-Ton sleep out this year raised about $8,000. Participants secured more than 150 pounds of food and about 40 bags of gently used clothing.

Seventy students and a dozen members of the Clarence TA faced the elements at their 25th annual sleep out. CTA member Kevin Starr (son of Jerry Starr) serves as adviser to the Clarence High School student council, which coordinates the event. The goal this year — raise "twenty fifteen ($20,015) in twenty-fifteen (2015)." Proceeds from this year's sleep out went to 12 local organizations.

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