May 2015 Issue
April 29, 2015

Locals in Action

Source: NYSUT United
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Members of the Alexander United Teachers participate in the local unions first community Health and Wellness Fair.
Caption: Members of the Alexander United Teachers participate in the local unions first community Health and Wellness Fair.

Alexander United Teachers

The Alexander United Teachers, a small local in Genesee County led by President Paul Janes, hosted a community Health and Wellness Fair April 16. Forty-two booths, ranging from the Genesee County Sheriffs Department and New York State Police to local health facilities, offered a variety of services, including child ID cards and health screenings. Exercise challenges, along with games, activities, face painting and balloon art, kept the children entertained all night. More than 200 community members enjoyed this first-time event. AUT Vice President Meghan Ripstein was the driving force behind the fair.

Hudson FallsTeachers Association

Since September, generous members of the Hudson Falls TA have donated more than $1,700 to support local charities or community members. The donations have purchased a $250 gas card for a family who has to travel for their daughters medical needs; and $100 to help purchase turkeys for the Student Council food baskets at Thanksgiving.

"Some of our members bake pies for the baskets, too," said teacher Jennifer French, who organizes many of the fundraising events for the local. TA President Deb Ferranti praised Frenchs work. "She goes above and beyond in organizing these fundraisers."

For this months school budget vote, the local will raffle off books for students and gift cards to local grocery stores and restaurants for parents.

Johnstown Teachers Association

The 150-member Johnstown TA has worked periodically with other locals in the Hamilton, Fulton and Montgomery counties, but co-hosting the Fonda-Fultonville Forum for Education was a first.

"It was a really good experience to work with other local association presidents. That was inspirational," said Beth Brower, TA president and seventh- and eighth-grade English teacher. Seven hundred people attended the March forum. The local unions also banded together to put out newspaper and radio advertisements and billboards throughout the rural area.

The Johnstown TA continues to find other ways to remain active. This year it will have a large contingent at the 5K Workforce Challenge May 8 in Albany; the event raises money for several charities. The local has 15 new teachers and five new TAs — all due to retirements — and younger members are getting involved in the union, Brower said.

The union also sponsors mini-grants, providing teachers seed money for projects. The elementary librarian, for example, was given a grant to purchase educational games and craft supplies for when students have indoor recess due to inclement weather. With so many new teachers, this year the JTA provided eight mini-grants.

Sandy Creek Teachers Association

For the small Sandy Creek TA, giving back is a big deal. The Oswego County local helps students in need via the Stuff-A-Bus program with the United Way and other area school districts. The TA also hosts dress-down days to raise money for supplies. The books, notebooks, pens, rulers and other materials are distributed to nine districts through the bus program.

"We put together backpacks for a distribution night," said SCTA President Brandie Norton. The backpacks are provided by the Salvation Army Red Kettle campaign.

The local hosts dress-down days every other week, creating a schedule for the year to spread their donations throughout the community. Members raise money for student clubs and organizations; donate to the Battle of the Books reading competition for grades 3-12; and support the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.

Since 2012, the Sandy Creek educational community has lost two in-service teachers and a retiree. The local has established scholarships and also contributes to funds in their honor.

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