California Educator

April/May 2021

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Vacaville Teachers Association takes member engagement seriously. e chapter's latest project, completed in late March, was a Welcome Back Campaign as educators began returning to in-person schooling. e thoughtful initiative sent all 680 of its members gift cards to local businesses — a win-win, and a community engagement eort at the same time. "I wanted to include a community partnership component to this member engagement campaign," says VTA member engagement chair Alyson Brauning. "Local businesses are opening up, and I felt this was an excellent way to help them and to give our members something they would enjoy." She points out that VTA already had relationships with local businesses; in the last ve or six years they have worked together on special events such as Taco Tuesdays, Day of the Teacher, and Limo Lunches. As part of the campaign , members also received Calm Strips, described as "textured sensory adhesives" that help with anxiety and dgeting by "giving you a gentle but textured surface as a stimulus." "We have a long history of member engagement — and we're always looking for new ideas!" —Alyson Brauning, V TA member engagement chair Show of Gratitude Vacaville chapter's engagement campaign touches members and local businesses Brauning and committee member Jouli Jara thought the reusable strips, which can be placed on laptops, phones, desks, and other spots, could help educators deal with ongoing pandemic stress. The committee also reached out to the Vacaville Unified School District Technolog y Department. "Before we kicked o the Welcome Back Campaign, Jouli and I went to the morning meeting of the Tech Department staff and thanked them for their [ongoing ] support of V TA members," Brauning says. " We gave each of them a $10 gift certicate to a local business." She notes that the department's digital education coordi- nators, as opposed to its regular sta, are VTA members. "e coordinators got the same Welcome Back items as all other VTA members in the mail." Not surprisingly, V TA members are happy — and VTA Member Engagement Committee members Jouli Jara, left, and Alyson Brauning in front of El Patron, a local restaurant that participated in VTA's Welcome Back Campaign. On VTA's Facebook page, Brauning and Jara thank teachers, nurses, school psychologists, counselors and "speechies" for their hard work this year, adding, "You deserve a treat!" 54 CTA & You

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