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Educators volunteer to help needy families in New Orleans area

** Photos available for media **

NEW ORLEANS - July 02, 2010 -

Teachers and other school staff from across the country rolled up their sleeves to help needy families in the New Orleans area. National Education Association members took on several community service projects July 1 and 2 to demonstrate their caring and commitment.

“The people of New Orleans are again facing enormous hardships, but they are resilient and proud. Their strength, dedication and determination inspire us all,” said NEA President Dennis Van Roekel. “Back home, our members are dealing with their own challenges—like layoffs and severe school budget cuts—but while they are here, they want to give back to the city and to families in need.”

Nearly 9,000 educators from every state are in New Orleans for NEA’s Annual Meeting and Representative Assembly (RA) that runs June 26 through July 6. The RA is the top decision-making body for the 3.2 million-member NEA. Delegates set Association policy and address issues facing schools, students and the teaching profession. NEA members spend several days volunteering in the city that hosts the event.

NEA’s Community Service Caucus organized numerous events:

  • Volunteers helped sort and stock goods for the Second Harvest Food Bank on Edwards Avenue in New Orleans. Since the oil spill, food bank member agencies have experienced a 25 percent increase in the number of new people seeking emergency food assistance.
  • Some helped construct two homes for Habitat for Humanity in Slidell, an area devastated by Hurricane Katrina. Also in Slidell, another group helped at Habitat’s ReStore, which sells discounted, reusable and surplus building materials to fund construction of future Habitat homes.
  • Volunteers prepared a meal for the homeless at the Ozanam Inn on Camp Street in New Orleans.
  • Educators joined with Hands On New Orleans to update a home in the 7th Ward and spruce up the organization’s Bunk House, which temporarily houses volunteers.
  • A teacher from New Orleans, who had to move to Maryland following Hurricane Katrina, organized a fundraiser to help local libraries and bookmobiles. Money donated by NEA delegates will be matched dollar for dollar through a challenge campaign sponsored by the New Orleans Public Library Foundation.
  • Throughout the convention, NEA delegates will be donating canned goods to the food bank. They will also donate school supplies to the ARC of Greater New Orleans and books to children at the local Ronald McDonald House.

“Community service offers a chance to show gratitude for all of the things that many of us take for granted,” said Karen Seeling McInnis, chair of the NEA Community Service Caucus. “It is truly rewarding to know that the time we put into projects today will help people in need tomorrow.”

Get photos from the events:

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The National Education Association is the nation’s largest professional organization, representing
3.2 million elementary and secondary teachers, higher education faculty, education support professionals, school administrators, retired educators and students preparing to become teachers.

CONTACT: Ramona Parks-Kirby  (202) 368-0575,