|Tom Stelling of Kingsway EA helps the children who attended decorate holiday cookies.
On Tuesday, Dec. 13, NJEA members from across South Jersey came together to share ideas, discover great discounts and get some holiday shopping done. Hosted by an off-shoot of NJEA’s early career network known as Team South, “NJEA for the Holidays” sought to bring together early career educators from throughout the region.
Shared primarily through social media and email, word about this organizing opportunity for NJEA members spread across the region. Approximately 300 NJEA members and their family members came out to the Gloucester Premium Outlets to wrap gifts, decorate holiday cookies and enjoy some hot chocolate. All who attended were informed of the many discounts available to NJEA members by the stores at the outlets.
The event organizers hoped to engage fellow members with involvement in their union in a natural and easy way. “NJEA for the Holidays” was designed to help bridge the gap between early career members and veteran educators in the region. “We wanted to bring people together to interact and engage with one another and with the Team South network itself,” said Tom Stelling, president of Kingsway EA. “It’s tough for teachers in New Jersey right now, especially for early career members. If we can get people to realize the ways that their NJEA membership can benefit them, then we are doing our job,” he said.
Many who attended enjoyed the opportunity to meet with colleagues, while being able to get their holiday shopping done. “I thought it was a great opportunity to multi-task. I could attend an NJEA event while Christmas shopping,” said Randi Behr, a fourth year teacher and member of the Pemberton EA. “Being able to sit with other educators to talk about the issues we face in the classroom is important for all educators,” she said.
If you’re interested in learning more about NJEA’s early career member network, visit njea.org/earlycareermembers.