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Message from the NEA-Retired President

The Drive to Change Lives
Chances are, you share a trait in common with so many other retired educators I know: You don’t think of your life’s work as finished now that you’re no longer staffing our nation’s public schools. I would also venture to guess that were I to ask why you wanted to work in education in the first place, you’d tell me it was because you wanted to make a difference in the lives of children.

And you did. You made sure those children had good meals, safe and clean facilities, and classes that would help them grow into capable, resourceful, compassionate adults. You so often went the extra mile to figure out how to get your most challenging students engaged. You helped parents stay involved in their children’s education.

I’m now 13 years retired, and I can tell you that the drive to change lives remains. And one beautiful thing about retirement is discovering new ways to make a difference.

You need look no further than the pages of this magazine to see what I mean. It’s positively inspiring to know that our colleagues are helping children and entire communities around the globe. But you don’t have to travel as far as Nicaragua or Thailand to do something meaningful. Participating in NEA’s Read Across America, making a donation to the Jack Kinnaman Scholarship Fund, talking to your educator friends about why they should stay active in NEA as a Retired member—all of these are examples that illustrate my point.

How have you continued to make a difference in others’ lives? I would love it if you would share with the rest of us what keeps you giving. Contribute to our discussion board online at or write a letter or email to our This Active Life editor. After all, your good works might inspire someone else, who might inspire another, and so on—and what could make a more meaningful retirement than that?
—Barbara Matteson

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  • anc_dyn_linksMay 2013
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