During the COVID-19 pandemic, public employees across the nation have given back to their communities in extraordinary ways. From donating to food banks to helping their neighbors and protecting their communities, public employees have been on the front lines. 

Teachers and school personnel are some of the most important members of our communities. They educate our children, volunteer their time and resources, and work to make a difference every day. This week, we will be honoring the hard work done by teachers and school personnel across the country during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Runners to take to the Roseville streets once more with Dream Dash fundraiser by Brendan Losinski. On May 8 in Roseville, Michigan, the Roseville Community Schools Scholarship Fund will hold its annual 5k walk run to raise money for the nonprofit, giving $1,000 scholarships to seniors hoping to further their education. The run/walk, which was canceled last year due to COVID-19, aims to raise thousands of dollars to award the scholarships. Courtney Caldwell, a teacher at Huron Park Elementary, has been participating in the Dream Dash for years and now brings the school’s running club to the event. Caldwell said, “It’s a really fun way to be involved in Roseville. Even if you’re not a parent of a student, it’s good for the community. It helps a kid pay off a little debt or give them a boost in their education, so that really helps students who are from here.”

How these SouthCoast Girl Scout troops remained united in a year of COVID by Seth Chitwood. Girl Scout troops across the country found innovative ways to keep scouts active during the pandemic. In a wide-ranging article, Chitwood details how troops across the state of Massachusetts have coped with everything from cookie sales to making sure scouts hold up their tradition of helping girls feel empowered, make new friends, and discover new skills. New Bedford High School biology teacher and assistant leader for a troop in the area, Lisa Richard, spoke about transitioning to digital troop meetings for her daughter and other girls. “I was kind of anti-technology for the children before, but then I kind of had to let up on that, just for the fact that she had no other outlet to talk to her friends,” said Richard. Richard mentioned that her troop first made masks for workers at St. Luke’s Hospital and retirement homes in the area. Now, they are teaching the troop how to build engineering kits via Zoom calls.

Arizona third-grader holds food drives to help in pandemic by The Associated Press. Throughout the pandemic, a third-grader from Phoenix has been giving back to his community in a big way with some help from his neighbors. Dylan Pfeifer has been going door-to-door in his neighborhood to let his neighbors know about the food drives he’s been holding. So far, he has collected 1,000 cans and boxes of nonperishable food and over $900 in donations. Denise Sandy-Sanchez, Pfeifer’s second-grade teacher, donated a box of food at a recent drive. She said, “It is inspiring because he is just an 8-year-old boy.” Sandy-Sanchez mentioned that she told him at his most recent food drive, “I hope you have room in your chest for that growing heart of yours.” Sometimes teachers have such significant impacts on their students’ lives. 

Be sure to check back next week for more stories of public employees giving back to their communities!