When I’m asked to describe Outreach to Teach, I say, “we’re giving the school a face-lift.” We can’t knock down walls or change the layout of the rooms or school, but we can enhance what they’ve already got. During this transformation we paint, landscape, clean and add décor to the rooms. This project is possible through the helping hands of our volunteers and members.
As the Outreach to Teach committee co-chair, I had the opportunity to view nominated schools and help select a final school. While each elementary school had their own needs, I had the opportunity to visit this year’s selected school in December. As I toured the school, I kept thinking there were some things that we were not going to be able to change, like the salmon-colored tile, but so many other opportunities for change presented themselves.
There was a common theme in each school visit – every educator was committed to putting students first and accommodating their needs. When we spoke with the principals, teachers and support staff, each spoke of their building’s needs and wants, but they also described their schools’ stories. Schools become the students’ home away from home. Every staff member has a favorite place to hang out or favorite person to see when they walk into that building. After speaking with these educators, you can feel their passion for teaching through their words and actions.
This year for Outreach to Teach, we selected Emmons Elementary School in Mishawaka. While only one building can serve as the Outreach to Teach location, I hope that this project helps motivate others to take action in improving their local schools. All students and staff deserve a warm and welcoming environment to teach, learn and grow. As advocates for public education, we can help achieve this goal at Emmons Elementary.
Outreach to Teach is about transforming a school and its environment, but it’s also about a positive transformation in yourself. It is a humbling experience to witness aspiring, current and retired public educators from around Indiana come together for one day to transform the deserving school. Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much. Let’s all come together on April 18 in Mishawaka and show that what we do is for our students, our schools and our future.
Register to volunteer for Outreach to Teach.