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. 

Teachers and support staff 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 support staff across the country.

Local teacher hosting event sharing experience helping Ukrainian refugees by Fox 26. A high school teacher and former journalist from Ashland, Oregon, visited the Polish-Ukrainian border to work with refugees.  Paul Huard made the journey to help refugees who will be returning to their homes after some progress has been made in the war. “When they get there, they are going to find their homes are rubble, there is little to no infrastructure, there is going to be a need to provide clean water, there is going to be a need assistance with settlement, there is going to be a need to acquire food for people,” said Huard. 

Local school districts give back to families in need by Ashley Soriano. Several school districts in the southern tier of New York are offsetting the cost of school supplies for families. The Johnson City, Maine-Endwell, and Union-Endicott school districts are setting up closets in their schools that are open to students and staff. The closets contain clothing, school supplies, hygiene products, and much more – all to offset the cost for families struggling to make ends meet with inflation and the lasting effects of the pandemic. “It’s open to anybody in the school, students or staff,” said JFS Social Worker Gina Ferraro. “Whatever the case may be, whatever the need that comes up. We’re here for everybody.” 

Springdale teacher running 100 miles for autism awareness by C.C. McCandless. To help raise funds for autism awareness, Turnbow Elementary School special education teacher Cameron Thomas is running in the Arkansas Traveller 100 race in October. Thomas, who is accepting donations through the advocacy organization Autism Speaks, has always been inspired by individuals with autism. “I have always felt a strong connection with this population and found myself volunteering at summer camps and working in a variety of settings, high school and transitioning students to adult care facilities,” Thomas said. “I provided respite services for some families, and now I am enjoying working with younger elementary age students.”