Source: Montecito Journal
By Sara Miller McCune
Two years ago, COVID-19 was simply an outlier, something that seemed to be impacting “others” and not destined to alter life as we all know it. Some 23 months ago, life did change. For business owners. For politicians. For children. And it put our teachers to the test.
But this wasn’t one they could study for; this was a fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants situation. And time and time again, through one variant after another, they’ve aced this endless quiz. Even though they are exhausted, they keep showing up – refusing to give up on our youth. And I’m here to say something quite simple: We care.
It’s such a simple phrase, but it’s one that we hope becomes a communal rallying cry to shower our educators with a little bit of love.
There are some 1,500 staff members with the Santa Barbara Unified School District that continue to show resolve that has never been required of a school district. Which is why it warms my heart to see SBUSD partner with the Santa Barbara Education Foundation (SBEF) to start the “We Care” campaign, one that will kick off a series of support actions under the same campaign name.
But today I want to focus our collective hearts on supporting our teachers. SBEF and SBUSD are already putting bold actions into play — every staff member has received a “We Care” card, where they can ask for literally anything they want up to $25.
Want a gift card to Renaud’s? Done. Want movie tickets? Done. Want an Amazon gift card? Done. I’ve never seen something like this — personalized gifts on a mass scale. It’s unheard of, and I’m grateful for the effort. And no, these are not gifts for their classrooms, they are for personal use. Going beyond the gift, SBEF also worked with Jersey Mike’s to cater a teacher appreciation luncheon at every school — free of charge.
That’s what this community is all about: banding together in tough times and in good times, but always having each other’s proverbial backs. Jersey Mike’s didn’t have to do this, they chose to do it. And I know the SBEF could use more donors, whether it is worldwide companies or the mom-and-pop shops that are the spine of Santa Barbara.
The SBUSD staff has not wavered in the face of one of the worst health crises of any generation, willing to adjust with little notice to continue to put our children first. For the next few months, let’s make sure we do the same for them.
Thank you for all that you do, teachers, support staff, and administrators; we are in your debt.
If You Want to Help
Contact: Rebecca Benozer, [email protected]
Sara Miller McCune is a local philanthropist and education advocate, plus founder of SAGE Publishing and President of the McCune foundation