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Above and Beyond

The holiday season is upon us and this year historic numbers of Americans have fallen upon hard times. Many teachers and their organizations commit incredible acts of kindness which often happen behind the scenes and yet have untold impact on the lives of children and other members of the community.

Recently the New Haven Register highlighted the efforts of one such teacher in the town of Derby. Paula Ferrara, a physical education teacher in Derby, wanted to find a way to offer a helping hand to the homeless. For most of us who have not experienced homelessness, it is hard to imagine how it would be to be totally devoid of the simplest things we take for granted like the pillow we use each night. Ms. Ferrara set about to do something about this by collecting pillows and distributing them to local shelters. She received support from colleagues and students and now the program is in its second year. A simple idea from a caring teacher which has gained a life of its own.

CEA has its own program called Holiday Bear which provides donated gifts to children and young people in need throughout Connecticut. Teachers around the state make anonymous recommendations and individuals or groups of individuals shop for these individual children. CEA members fanout across the state delivering these gift bags to schools. This year over 1300 children will have a brighter holiday thanks to the generosity of their teachers and others.

Teachers are no stranger to the power of kindness, charity and civic-mindedness. Perhaps you know of an effort in your community that you could share with us.

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