January 2016 Issue
December 22, 2015

Locals in Action

Source: NYSUT United
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UCATS President Steve Rechner. Members of his local donated gifts for 40 children through the Stockings with Care program and First Book.
Caption: UCATS President Steve Rechner. Members of his local donated gifts for 40 children through the Stockings with Care program and First Book.

Mount Vernon Federation of Teachers

Securing, sorting and delivering 10,000 new books proved a team effort for the Mount Vernon FT.

The local obtained the books through the First Book program by completing a Truckload Challenge: The MVFT worked with district educators, security, staff, administration and community members to complete 1,000 registration forms.

MVFT members Mike Baldino and Carl Caprio drove more than 150 miles to pick up the books in Albany and delivered them to Mount Vernon High School, where they were sorted and boxed for delivery by a team of MVFT retirees and teachers from the high school.

The following day, Mount Vernon Buildings and Grounds employees delivered the books to every school. The custodians and MVFT building reps coordinated the labeling and distribution of the books in each school.

"As educators, we understand the importance of our students becoming strong readers, so we explore every avenue to bring resources to our children to help in that process," MVFT President Jeff Yonkers said.

"NYSUT and AFT made us an offer we couldn't refuse — brand new, beautiful books to give to our students — we gladly accepted the challenge," Yonkers added.

White Plains Teachers Association

The White Plains TA is kicking it up a notch. At a late October Kicking Cancer Kickball tournament staged by the local, 120 faculty came together as eight teams representing the high school, middle schools, two elementary schools, an alternative school program and central office. Players donated $10 to participate.

Spectators also donated and could purchase T-shirts and snacks.

As a result of the match, "We will donate $1,600 between Sloan Kettering Pediatric Cancer and Ronald McDonald House," said WPTA President Kerry Broderick.

The event was created in response to TA member Nisse Varghese, whose son, Jonathan, has T-cell lymphoma (a form of leukemia) and has been undergoing chemotherapy. He was well enough to attend the tournament and even play a bit.

"This is what a union is about ... helping our members help our students," Broderick said.

Union of Clerical, Administrative and Technical Staff

Through generous holiday donations from members of the Union of Clerical, Administrative and Technical Staff (UCATS), a higher education union at New York University, 40 children will receive gifts.

They were wrapped and delivered to Stockings With Care, a New York City nonprofit organization that works with coalitions assisting families who are living in homeless shelters or in danger of becoming homeless.

UCATS members also suited up as Santa Claus to help with deliveries and meet children.

"The SWC driver told me that every year we are the largest donor organization," said Steve Rechner, UCATS president. This year, in addition to the gifts provided by members, an age-appropriate book was added to each child's packages, courtesy of NYSUT and First Book.

"Special thanks to the UCATS staff in our Facilities Management Office who provided boxes, bags, a dolly, a bin, and a hand truck to make light work of moving all those packages," Rechner said.

Hudson Falls Teachers Association

The 210-member Hudson Falls TA may not be the largest local on the block — but its members certainly have a lot of heart. When two local families living in one house lost all of their possessions in a house fire in November, the local helped their recovery with a $500 donation.

The TA responds "anytime there's any local need," said Deb Ferranti, union president. The families displaced by the fire include three high school students, three middle school students and a first-grader.

Educators also helped students set up collection containers around the school, and guidance counselor and HFTA member Jim Shaw went shopping for the families.

Share news about your local's union or community events at united@nysutmail.org; include "LIA" in the subject line.

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