UNION COUNTY, NC – On the chilly morning of January 18, the Union County Teachers Appreciation drive was held in Monroe, NC, at The Spot. This year’s event featured a drive thru where teachers were able to come and pick up supplies and goodies in a socially distanced manner. “This Teacher Appreciation event is intended to show our teachers, assistants, and support staff a token of appreciation for their hard work during this pandemic and beyond,” says Ulunda Baker, Event Coordinator/Outreach. “We will have a Teacher Appreciation parade as they come through the line!”
And it was quite a parade and celebration! Local parents, children, and volunteers made signs, hooted and hollered, and honored the teachers as they came through. Angelia James, Councilwoman at the City of Monroe, was on the microphone calling out schools and mascots as the teachers came through. The City of Monroe police were at the event directing traffic and cheering on the teachers as well. “Angelia and I have been working behind the scenes in the public, charter, and private school space in some capacity to support teacher care for years,” Baker shares. “We usually do one-off individual direct support of teachers and schools, oftentimes meeting with Boards, committees, running clubs, or just helping to support as Community Leaders.” This year, they went a little bigger as remote learning has taken over, and many teachers are teaching from their homes.
“Angelia wanted to be intentional about raising awareness for the importance of care for our teachers and support staff in schools,” Baker continues. “This pandemic is also wearing on them. Plus, it also gives us a chance to bring awareness to the Teaching Profession. We not only have been collecting donations, but we are also telling the stories of teachers from teacher perspectives and even students. It’s been heartwarming. Additionally, we are intentionally using a small business location that is right across the street from a Title 1 school in our area. The Spot’s management team (1513 Concord Avenue) has opened their entire location as a donation hub and host site.” There are still some wish list items that the group needs and they can be found at https://www.signupgenius.com/go/4090545adad2fa6fe3-teacher
“We are currently planning and collaborating on how to continue this throughout the year either by direct events or ongoing awareness segments using the Social media page,” says Baker. “Our goal is to continue to get visibility into the need to help uplift some of our schools, especially Title 1 schools, in our area. Ongoing teacher, assistant, and support staff is so needed. We are also hoping we keep the dialogue going about raising up the next generation of teachers as well through telling the stories of our teachers and schools.”
You can find more information including stories and journeys at https://www.facebook.com/unncteacherappreciation/.