When Tragedy Strikes, Educators Respond

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By Tim Reed/pictures courtesy of Debra Angstead and the Missouri NEA

While many teachers are hanging posters, sharpening pencils and writing lesson plans, educators in Missouri and North Dakota are instead dealing with the aftermath of recent tornadoes and flooding.

Even while collecting school supplies for newly-homeless students, working on school rebuilding projects and accepting donations to help fellow educators, teachers in these communities know that the real job starts when students re-enter their classrooms. With their whole lives in a jumble after the recent tragedy, what students need more than anything is consistency and a place where they can feel safe, and educators in North Dakota and Missouri are providing that for them.

The North Dakota Education Association is now accepting donations for their disaster relief fund. This fund is geared towards replacing classroom supplies, teaching materials, books, uniforms and electronics for students and teachers in Minot and Bismarck. If you are an educator in North Dakota who needs help refurnishing a classroom and replacing lost student supplies, you can apply for funds by visiting NDEA.org.

But North Dakota Education Association members aren’t content to simply collect money, they have been on the ground helping to rebuild their communities since day one. Below is a video message from NDEA President Dakota Draper, shot in Minot soon after disaster struck.

In Joplin, Mo., back to school time has been made a little bit brighter thanks to more than $23,000 in donations and the delivery of 10,000 books for students in need from the Missouri Education Association. The funds were distributed through the MNEA HOPE fund, which accepts donations year round.

In addition to the more than $23,000 Missouri NEA has sent to Joplin through its Humanitarian Outreach Project for Education Fund, the organization delivered 10,000 books Aug. 13, a generous donation from the National Education Association’s Washington affiliate.

MNEA’s HOPE Fund has never played a more influential role in supporting educators and the families they serve than in the past year. MNEA’s fund has issued checks for more than $33,000 in aid in 2011 and raised more than $39,000 since May 22, the day the nation’s most deadly tornado tore through Joplin, MO, ultimately claiming 160 lives and taking everything but memories in its three-quarter mile path. Of the $33,000 in HOPE Fund assistance, $23,000 has gone to Joplin so far, and the requests for assistance continue.


“The generosity of the NEA family throughout the country, as well as the citizens who have learned about our fund, has been truly inspiring,” says MNEA President Chris Guinther. “We never anticipated that the fund would do so much for so many. We are proud to be active participants in Joplin’s recovery and are especially interested in doing what we can to get Joplin schools back on track for providing quality education to the community’s students.”

To read the complete article on the efforts to help the students of Joplin, click here. You can visit the MNEA HOPE fund website to request assistance or make a donation.

Reader Comments

  1. I not surprised about what teachers ate doing in their communities it asked a special type if selfless, giving, loving and caring person to be a teacher. It is disappointing that after all the taxes we Americans pay to our federal government, we always wind up giving and supporting dictators in other countries and letting corporations get away with not paying any taxes and using our tax money to bail out corporations only to find out corporations cheated Americans and used is and then laid off Americans and then paid millions in bonus and other perks to already greedy rich executives. Teachers and unions are now being accused l being a burden on states yet these courage and wonderful individuals continue to give whatever they can to children. I pay union dues but I don’t see much result because politicians can now be bought by corporations so if numbers show strength why not have all the unions (police officers. Firefighters, nurses. Social workers, Verizon workers. Public workers including our military people who are also underpaid and private workers, etc) unite and show corporations and government (republicans and democrats) that we still have power. Nice job teachers. U are the best.

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