California Educator

December / January 2017

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CTA chapters mobilize As the holidays approach, the work to rebuild lives and regain normalcy in the burn zones is far from over. Times are hard for North Bay educa- tors and students who lost their homes and family memories in the devastating wildfires, among the most destructive and deadly in California's recent history. In Sonoma County alone, at least 1,298 students, 146 teachers and 89 support staff lost homes, the county office of edu- cation says. In their education communities across several counties, many teachers continue to shoulder the healing process at their schools. The burned region's spirit was seen in student-made signs on school campuses declaring: "e love in the air is thicker than the smoke." Rising from the ashes of destroyed houses and a few lost schools is a union community spirit that's making a difference. CTA and its chapters have been vis- ible and active. Lyon says a sampling of the SRTA activists who stepped up includes English teacher Trish Terrell (on the chapter's grievance committee), who coordinated obtaining and distrib- uting 900 donated backpacks filled with school supplies to 23 school sites; Margie BradyLong (treasurer), a math teacher who took the lead on doing paperwork for countless CTA and SRTA grants to members and retired teachers; and Micah Carlin-Goldberg (webmaster), sixth-grade teacher and a social media force, filling the union's website ( with fire and donation news. In mid-November, Drake, the educa- tor who launched the donation center, announced an "adopt a family" program where donors are filling the specific needs of more than 80 families at Hidden Valley School, where he says about a quarter of the 600 students lost homes, in addition to six teachers and support staff. Its Satel- lite School serving 80 kids was destroyed. (Learn more at the donation center's web- site: hiddenvalleyschoolsdisaster.) "It's just important to me and to all of How to Help and Get Help The North Bay October wildfires burned 245,000 acres and claimed 44 lives, with 23 fatalities occurring in Sonoma County. Some 100,000 people evacuated. Santa Rosa alone lost 3,000 homes. Entire neighborhoods were decimated. Many educators suffered losses. CTA has set up a comprehensive page with resources for those affected, and information on making donations to help. See By mid-November, the CTA Disaster Relief Fund had provided more than 109 grants of up to $3,000 for impacted educators — at least $190,000 in relief — with some CTA locals providing more. The Santa Rosa Teachers Association continues its fundraising for educa- tors in the Santa Rosa City Schools district, raising more than $35,000 so far on its YouCaring site, and pairing impacted teachers' "wish lists" with donors online. The CTA Redwood Service Center Council's fundraising site is taking dona- tions until Dec. 31 and will provide cash help for teachers in the eight counties it represents, including fire-damaged Sonoma, Napa, Men- docino and Lake counties. us to do everything we can to support these families that are such a huge part of our lives," Drake says. "They 've gone through such a trauma here." Educators statewide are pitching in, as did many at October's CTA State Council in Los Angeles. After hearing teachers from the burn zones announce the Red- wood Service Center Council GoFundMe a c c o u n t , d e l e g a t e s a n d c o l l e a g u e s donated $7,100 in five hours. "We stand with you and your families," CTA Announcing a GoFundMe site for fire victim colleagues, CTA State Council delegates asking for help in October are, from left, Ola King-Claye, Santa Rosa Teachers Association; CTA Board member Jerry Eaton; Gayle Young, president of the Napa Valley Educators Association; Jeremiah Price and Jay Juhl, Rincon Valley Teachers Association. In five hours, delegates and colleagues donated $7,100. 65 D E C E M B E R 2 017 / J A N U A R Y 2 018

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