Public employees across the nation give back to their communities in extraordinary ways every single day. From donating to food banks to helping their neighbors and protecting their communities, public employees have always been there when their community needs them the most. 

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. 

Chippewa Valley High chosen as top Macomb County Green School by Nicole Tuttle. Although COVID-19 interrupted many school clubs and priorities, it didn’t stop a Michigan high school teacher and his students from being “green.” Teacher Kevin Bai, the staff leader for Chippewa Valley High School’s Ecology Club, and his students found out they were being named the top overall Macomb County Green School in April 2021. The Michigan Green Schools initiative operates on a formula of 20 points awarded under four categories. Some of the initiatives Bai and his students were recognized for include planting or maintaining native Michigan plants and trees around the school, units on alternative energy and making energy more efficient districtwide, and adopting an animal through the World Wildlife Fund. Bai commented, “We documented 24 points, I like to go a little above and beyond.”

Highland County educators spearheading coalition to provide face shields for health care workers by Caitlin Forsha. Teachers and other volunteers from across Highland County, Ohio, got together at the onset of the pandemic last year to spearhead an ambitious project: produce thousands of face shields for healthcare workers in the area. Josh Montgomery, a computer science professor at Southern State Community College, and Nate Luke, a computer technology teacher at McClain High School, were the primary organizers of an effort that involved 126 3D printers. As schools began to close in April 2020, Luke thought they could do something good using their skills and time. Luke commented, “It’s just been good to try to take my mind off the news and put that energy toward something positive and something that’s going to help others out during all this craziness. That’s been really beneficial for me, too. That’s the best thing that I’m getting out of it.”

Hackensack teacher hands out groceries to families in need by ABC 7 New York. Last May, after schools started to close around the country, Kelly Carroll, a culinary teacher at Hackensack High School in New Jersey, started calling his students to check-in. When the parents of his students told him they were having trouble putting food on the table, he jumped into action. Carroll reached out to companies and organizations to get food donations for families in need and had resounding success. At the time of the reporting, he had over 225 bins of food in his yard. Carroll commented, “People, our teachers, are really helpful. They help with deliveries and donations. [The outreach] is incredible.” Volunteers, including fellow teachers, helped with deliveries by driving food to the doorsteps of those in need. “We are going to do it as long as we possibly can. Don’t get me wrong. As long as people donate and companies want to bring food to us, I am going to give it to the people,” he said.

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