“Seeing all of the teachers, assistants, and support staff come through the line reminded me that we always have an opportunity to make people feel appreciated. No act of kindness is too small. Everyone deserves to feel like what they do and who they are matters, especially during challenging times.” ~Ulunda Baker
On Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day and National Day of Service one of the largest local education outreach events took place in Monroe. Back in November 2020, Monroe City Councilwoman Angelia James came up with the idea to have a drive-thru appreciation drive. Knowing a fellow community volunteer Ulunda Baker, was also a big supporter of schools, she enlisted her help. Ulunda event managed by planning, coordinating, and enlisting the help of other volunteers and support to collect items for donation bags which included sanitizer, Kleenex, face shields, gift cards and other items. They partnered with The Spot Eatery and Lounge; a small business managed by local Union County dads in Monroe to be the host site of the drive thru.
They also got the help of CATA Highschool Cheer team, Arborbrook Christian Academy’s mascot and several other community volunteers and organizations, students, and alumni to help create a parade of celebration. There was cheering, honking horns and celebrating as each teacher, assistant and bus driver came through the parade. Angelia and Ulunda shared that some teachers were overwhelmed with tears of joy over the event. Angelia and the team called each school represented by name as they came through the line.
“Our teachers, teacher assistants and support staff have been on the frontlines adapting and supporting us parents and our children through this pandemic,” Angelia said. “We wanted to find a way to show them we care and appreciation.”
More than 650 teachers, assistants and support staff received bags through the drive until they ran out.
“Seeing all of the teachers, assistants, and support staff come through the line reminded me that we always have an opportunity to make people feel appreciated,” Ulunda said. “No act of kindness is too small. Everyone deserves to feel like what they do and who they are matters, especially during challenging times.”
The dynamic duo are still filling another 100 bags for some teachers or support staff who couldn’t attend the drive-thru event due to quarantine or other sickness. They are even arranging some drive by parades for teachers who have recently had losses in their family, or they are battling illness.
Even though the event is over, the Facebook page will continue as they will be highlighting the happenings and education personnel throughout Union County. They want to set an example for other neighboring communities across the country to find ways to show more appreciation for educators.
Angelia and Ulunda aren’t teachers, but it doesn’t stop them from serving with schools, school boards and teachers on various initiatives to support the students and families of Union County. Both have served with Common Heart in some way over the last several years and are committed to community service in Union County!
For more information, visit: https://www.facebook.com/ucnceducationappreciation or email firstname.lastname@example.org.