Guest blog by Kristin Hinshaw, ALA National Headquarters Education Committee Program Coordinator
Even though classes are not in session during the summer months, there are still plenty of things the American Legion Auxiliary can do for our Education program during that time. Administrators and many teachers keep summer hours. Call the school office to set a date and time for a meeting. If you have to leave a message, don’t be concerned. They may only be in the office a couple days a week during the summer. Be sure to explain who you are, why you’re calling, and that you want to help.
Some ways the ALA can help our schools include:
- Ask if there are any first-year teachers. They would appreciate your help in setting up and decorating their new classroom. This could be a fun activity for your older Juniors, especially if any are interested in becoming a teacher.
- Get copies of the teachers’ supply lists and start collecting for Give 10 to Education. If there’s a Back To School Night, ask if you and your unit could present the items in person.
- Make connections with the teachers who would be interested in a Veterans in Community Schools presentation. You’ll want to get on their schedule early so both you and the teacher can prepare. You can download How to Organize a Veterans in Community Schools Activity from the Education page in the Members Only section at www.ALAforVeterans.org.
- If a school has a student uniform or dress code, collect donations for students in need. Some schools who require students to wear a uniform have a uniform exchange at various times during the year. They could use your assistance organizing the styles and sizes before the families come to look through what they have.
- Bring treats in for the staff. Janitors, custodians, and school secretaries work during the summer and are often overlooked during the school year.
- Summer is a good time to donate books to the library while they are getting organized for the new school year. Why not donate Indivisible – The Story of our Flag (available at American Legion Flag & Emblem Sales) or The Poppy Lady: Moina Belle Michael and Her Tribute to Veterans? Take your Junior members with you to make the presentation. Wear branded shirts and take lots of pictures!
- Ask if you can help beautify and clean up the school. You might plant flowers and pull weeds, help paint the halls and classrooms, or provide maintenance on the playground equipment.
- Contact new PTO/PTA officers and offer assistance. They’ll be in the early planning stages for the coming school year. If they sell products for a fundraiser, offer to let them come speak to your unit. Your members may not only be interested in supporting the PTO/PTA, but in the products they are selling as well.
Keep track of what you do so you can include it in your mid-year and annual reports. And, as always, be branded and take lots of pictures!
How the ALA Education program has helped:
Our American Legion Auxiliary Education program knows the importance in acknowledging the sacrifices of our servicemembers’ children. To that end, the Children of Warriors National Presidents’ Scholarship was created to support the children of our warriors.
This month, we share a letter of gratitude from Children of Warriors National Presidents’ Scholarship recipient Amy E. Glover, submitted by the Department of Massachusetts Eugene M. Connor Unit 193:
“I just wanted to say thank you from my family and I for awarding me this prestigious scholarship! I know it would have been an honor for my grandfather to know that I, his granddaughter, was awarded this scholarship. It means so much to my family and I that you have decided to support me in my education at Wheaton College in Norton, MA. With this scholarship, I will be able to become a high school history teacher and be able to teach the youth about all the amazing things veterans have done for our country. Thank you very much!”
ALA scholarship information and applications can be found at www.ALAforVeterans.org/Programs/Education, on the ALA Education program Facebook group at www.Facebook.com, or you can contact National Headquarters at (317) 569-4500 or education@ALAforVeterans.org.
Excellent ideas! This paves the way for other Education and Youth program contacts in the future.