Arizona Education Association

Fall 2016

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8 ADVOCATE | FALL 2016 Around AEA I n a sea of hot pink and blue T-shirts, NEA -Student and NEA-Retired members worked shoulder to shoulder hammering, gluing, writing, packing and creating at the Leaders Empowering Grassroots Advocacy for Communities and Youth (LEGACY) Project at the Student Leadership Conference July 1. AEA student members, Katie Fielder, Sydney Knight, and Alexis White attended the NEA Student Leadership Conference and participated in the LEGACY Project. As dance music pumped through the cavernous conference room at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in downtown Washington, D.C. the volunteers moved from table to table every 15 minutes to work on community service projects like building Little Free Libraries, putting together care packages for homeless shelters and creating beautifully decorated hand-puppets containing notes of inspiration for cancer patients. Helping Hand for Cancer Patients "It was an honor to volunteer in the Legacy Project through the Student Leadership Conference," says Katie Fielder, Vice President of the Northern Arizona University Chapter of the AEA Student Program. "My favorite activity was creating "Open When…" letters for children who are battling cancer. These letters also double as an adorable puppet. The joke located inside my envelope is my beloved egg roll joke." "As future educators we know that we must see to the needs of students and the community beyond the walls of our classrooms," says Tadean Page, an NEA Student member of The South Carolina Education Association and junior at Winthrop University. In his message to a person battling cancer, he wrote "You are strong. I believe in you." He followed that with what he says is a personal motto he shares with young people all the time: "You are enough and you do matter." Sitting beside him was Ruth Tan, a Tennessee Education Association Student Member and junior at Tennessee Technical University, who was putting the finishing touches on a colorful and glittery hand-puppet. "It goes without saying that educators give back to the community," she says. "Giving back is why we want to educate in the first place. We want to support children and help them succeed, not just academically." Hand-written Messages to Students and Teachers At the "Pencils of Hope" station, where the volunteers stuffed backpacks with school supplies, they also wrote notes to students wishing them well on their first days of school. Students, Retired Members Lend a Hand with Hands-On LEGACY Project By Sheenae Shannon and Cindy Long, NEA Today

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