California Educator

March 2017

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See Me After School What educators do after the last bell rings F O R O U R S E C O N D See Me After School contest, we asked you to tell us how you spend your time once the school day ends (and yes, we know educators' work goes well beyond that). Thanks to all who responded — so many of you have rich second and third lives as artists, athletes, coaches and guides. You broaden your mind, expand others' horizons, and better the world. Our three winners receive $50 gift cards for school supplies. Congratulations to all! For the Kicks The note that accompanies Samantha Ford's photos reads: "I recently started collecting shoes for students in need." That's a bit of an understatement. In just a few months, Ford has gathered up more than 1,200 new pairs of athletic shoes for all the students in three Title I elementary schools in her district. In December, Ford, who teaches physical education at 15 schools in Saugus Union School District, noticed several students wearing worn-out, incorrectly sized shoes during one of her classes. The Saugus Teachers Association member told them to make sure to wear athletic shoes the next time. She asked one boy wear- ing boots if he had running shoes. "He said, ' These are the only shoes I have,'" Ford wrote in a Facebook post later that day. " The boots were old and ratty and worn-out," Ford told CBS. "It just hit me really hard." One of her friends saw her post and the next day brought in two pairs of shoes and socks for the boy to choose from. Soon friends, fellow educators, district staff, community members, former stu- dents and even pro athletes heard of Ford's efforts and responded. She was able to distribute new athletic shoes to kids who were running "in little flimsy sandals, or shoes that had holes — we have a couple of kids who hot-glue the sole on every day." Word of mouth and Facebook continue to spread the need, and tap into people's desire to help. "Recently a lady I used to work with talked to her church — and the people at the church collected 100 pairs of shoes," Ford said. "And now there's also a men's lacrosse team in Ohio collecting shoes as their service project." She is most amazed by her colleagues. "I know teachers are giving people — teachers give and give, and spend thousands of their own dollars on their classrooms. They have their own needs, their own students. What has surprised and overwhelmed me is the generosity of teachers who have given shoes." Now that she's outfitted three schools' worth of kids with shoes, Ford sees the work continuing, but in a different way. "I get requests from teachers in my district — they 'll say 'I've got two foster kids' or 'I've got two homeless kids and the mom just got divorced.' They need shoes." WINNER: " I know teachers are giving people. What has surprised and overwhelmed me is the generosity of teachers who have given shoes." 49 March 2017

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