California Educator

October 2014

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Page 49 of 59

CTA & You Members maer Compiled by Frank Wells and Dina Martin What's your CTA story? There are multiple reasons CTA membership is good for you personally and professionally. Throughout the year we're featuring members who share which of those reasons matter most to them. Would you like to share your CTA story? Write to A V E T E R A N T E A C H E R who has taught multiple grade levels and subjects from kindergarten to continuation high school, Aisha Blanchard-Young has served in var- ious union roles, including president of the Inglewood Teachers Association. She started this year as a third- grade teacher with the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District. Here she shares why membership matters to her. How did you become interested in being a union member? There was never a question about it. I believe in the power of collective work. And my parents grew up in the Deep South in an era where people had to work together for justice and equality. Rights aren't often just handed down — and the rights and benefits we enjoy as educators have been achieved with a collec- tive struggle. AISHA BLANCHARD-YOUNG Elementary teaer Membership LINDA CROW Second-grade teaer S A V I N G M O N E Y is important to everyone, but it's been especially important to Linda Crow. She came into teaching later in life and needed to watch her bud- get while raising her daughter after her husband's early death. It was a difficult time for you. How did CTA help? Our member benefits took the worry off my shoulders so I could do my job. I was the sole breadwinner with bills and student loans to pay off. CTA/NEA Member Benefits — the home and auto insurance programs, the travel and entertainment discounts, the help with pur- chasing a new car and the financial education I received over the years — helped me stay ahead. Have you used any member benefits since then? I've called on California Casualty a few times, most importantly when a fire caused massive damage to my 48

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