On March 17th, I posted a new project on my blog called Teachers Taking Care of Teachers. It was a national service project that God laid on my heart and brought to fruition. It was my hope that teachers around the world would join together to help the 121 teachers and administrators affected by the hurricanes that swept through five states on March 2, 2012. I sent out hundreds of emails and watched the google doc fill up as teachers adopted teachers in need. It was quite amazing! I really cannot tell you how this impacted my life and I KNOW it was a blessing to so many. I’ve always been one of those people who is a crazy gift giver. Now, don’t get me wrong…I am all giddy when I get a gift, but real joy comes from giving. This project so was NOT about me but so much about YOU and your heart to lend a hand and that totally blessed me. Seriously, some days I was just in tears when I would get an email from a teacher who was suffering because of what they went through. I wanted to share a few emails with you so you can see what YOU helped to do. Some are addressed to me, but they really are to everyone who donated their time, funds, and materials. I want to share the pure joy of knowing YOU touched the lives of so many and YOUR efforts will not go unnoticed. J Blessing and love to each and every one of YOU!! Now, I am a softy, but you may want to grab a tissue….
May 9, 2012
“Hi, Crystal. I just wanted to say a belated "thanks" for organizing this for our fellow teachers. My class sent letters to one class, and they responded with the sweetest letters back to my class!! My city was also hit by tornadoes in early April. Luckily, we did not experience any of the devastation like those up north, but our school was on lockdown pretty much the whole afternoon and I had a sub!! (I was attending a Literacy Conference four hours away). But, anyways, it meant a lot to my students to write cards because they knew exactly what being caught in a tornado felt like, and it was reassuring to them to get cards from kiddos just like them who went through the same experience. Anyways, it was a great life lesson and one that cannot be found in books or curriculum guides. So, thank you!!”
April 24, 2012 (this was forwarded to me by a donator)
I wanted to let you know that I received your card today. It was a nice surprise and a wonderful gift. I couldn’t let your actions go without expressing my appreciation in writing. Your thoughtfulness is appreciated more than you know. It will certainly help with purchasing replacement supplies for my classroom.
I have been teaching Kindergarten for 13 years and Head Start for 4 years prior to that. It seems like a large part of my salary has gone toward my students and classroom over the years. It is so hard to think about everything that I once had.
I think that we, as teachers, are so much like hoarders. We can see the simplest things and imagine great possibilities that it holds. I guess that is why we accumulate so much within our careers.
I am now team teaching with another teacher. Due to lack of space, the 3 ½ Kindergarten classrooms were combined to make two classes. We have a large number of students (about 30). However, we are learning to adjust.
I never imagined that such a tragedy would strike our small community. We were so fortunate that we did not lose any lives in the tornado. It has been such as adjustment for us to go from a state- of-the-art school to a campus where several of the buildings have not been used in 10 years. I think that it is times like this that we as educators learn to appreciate the little things in life.
I wanted to let you know that I work with a wonderful staff. We were notified on a Friday at 12:00 that we would be opening the school for students on Monday. We worked diligently throughout the weekend to prepare the classrooms for the students. We had very little to work with. However, I think that everyone was in agreement that even though we had to give up our weekend it was worth it to get the students back in school. They had been greatly affected by this tragedy and really needed some feeling of “normalcy” in their lives.
It has been a heart-breaking time. The students have shared their stories through drawings and writings. I did have students who were directly impacted and who lost their homes as a result of the tornado. One student was inside a mobile home with her family as it flipped three times. I am so thankful that she was able to live to tell her story and show us her bruises.
Again, thank you so much for taking the time to care about my students and me!”
Salyersville Grade School
April 16, 2012
Just like you it has taken me some time and research to find the Teachers Taking Care Of Teachers Program. I have used this site before for the wonderful printables but I have never visited the blogs. I would like to thank you and everyone involved with this project. It is more than providing us with materials. It has also shown us that there are still people who are willing to help out a stranger in need. I was among the first of the teachers to receive a package from Joell. It couldn't have arrived at a better time. I was beginning to realize the things we had lost and was feeling depressed. At first our only concern was our children. We wanted to make sure they were alright and to get them back into a familiar routine. Joell's cards from her students will be something I will always cherish. I would like to thank everyone on the behalf of Salyersville Grade School. You really don't realize what a change you have made.”
April 17, 2012
“Crystal, I hope you will get a chance to read this message. I am one of the teachers from Salyersville elem who you helped through your teachers taking care of teachers program. I tried to post a comment on your blog but for some reason it didn't post. I wanted to thank you for what you have done for my school. It is a truly wonderful thing you have done with the program. Not because of the items we received but us knowing that someone still cares enough to help out a stranger. Needless to say I was one of the first to receive a package at my school. It couldn't have arrived at a better time. For the first week or so I was just thankful that we had a place to go and worried about my children. Several lost homes or had damage to their homes. Please keep in mind this is the first time a tornado ever touched down in this area so it was surprising. We were just trying to get the children back into a familiar routine. After that I began to realize all of the things that were lost with the storm and was feeling very depressed. When my package arrived it changed my outlook. I was surprised to think that someone from Utah would actually care about me a perfect stranger. You have proven to me that the world is not as bad as it seems and there are still some very special people like you who are willing to help.”
Ok, I know this is long and I have more but I will stop there for today. Aren’t these just the sweetest messages? I hope you know what a great thing you have done by helping. If you are new to my blog and would still like to help, click the heart picture above or below to take you to the google doc to sign up.
It’s okay to double up too. Let’s continue to shower these teachers with love and blessings. THANK YOU to everyone who has and who will be a part of this amazing project. I would love it if you would LINK UP a blog post about your experiences with this project and how you and your students got involved to help. Make sure you post title is Teachers Taking Care of Teachers Update. I hope this linky party will inspire teachers everywhere. I will leave you with one of my favorite songs. It is one of those songs that really touch my heart to its core.
Have a great week friends and Happy Mother’s Day too. Even if you aren't a mom yet, you hold the place for mothers every day when you teach children. We often spend more time with children than their parents get too so what you do is important. Your love is a love that can change a life. It takes a village to raise a child and your part is super important. Don’t let anyone tell you differently. Love and virtual hugs!!!