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

Here is a story of a public employee in service to their community.

Madison Co. teacher, founder of HOOD helps youth get on the right path by Diamond Palmer. Madison Middle School special education teacher David Townsend has gone above and beyond for his community in Kentucky. In 2013, Townsend founded the non-profit organization Home of Opportunities and Dreams (HOOD), which helps disadvantaged youth by providing mentoring, summer outings, and volunteer projects. Since then, he has helped many students from the area and opened the Richmond Teen Center in 2021. Townsend’s primary goal is to mentor and deter youth from going down the wrong path. “Too many times we have mentors in our life and they drop out, but that kid or that youth still has a need for a support system,” said Townsend. “When that support system is gone, things tend to roll downhill and spiral out of control, so if we can maintain kids that’s already at risk now with an effective support system that doesn’t enable then we may be able to stop some of those pitfalls before they get in them.”

Afghan children whose families fled Kabul get a new start at school by Nina Shapiro. As the Taliban took over Afghanistan this past summer, families fled the country to seek refuge worldwide, including in the United States. Three siblings who fled the country spent time on an Army base in Texas for the last four months, eventually finding themselves welcomed at Southern Heights Elementary School in Burien, Washington. With open arms, the small elementary school of just over 200 children welcomed its new students. The children will receive help from a wide array of administrators, teachers, and classmates as they seek to start a better life. One of the staff members and custodian at the school, Abdul Bakhshi, immigrated from Afghanistan in 2019, and he was there to help translate for the students. Shapiro reports that he reassured the children’s father that they would learn English, just as his children did when they immigrated to Washington. 

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