On a sun-soaked Saturday earlier this month, the Bayonne Education Association (BEA) volunteers joined the Bayonne Bridge Arts Festival, demonstrating that educators are just as dedicated out of their schools as they are within them. Held in Collins Park in Bayonne, the festival showcased the work of many talented artists and provided the BEA to showcase NJEA’s Families and Schools Together Work for Children (FAST) initiative.

NJEA’s FAST program is a coalition of education advocates, community groups and schools working together to foster family involvement.  Through their collective efforts, the coalition works to encourage families to be involved in their children’s education to enhance their academic progress, as well as feel welcome in public schools.  Seven BEA members, BEA President Gene Woods, BEA FAST Chairperson Stephanie Woods, Martha Hanna, Tara Aldorsi, Frank Lebron, Haley Johnson and Steve Nixon, welcomed festival-goers and distributed giveaways.

Hundreds of items were available for the community, including backpacks with the BEA and FAST logos, were given to students from the district.  To be eligible for the giveaways, parents and guardians had to sign up using a QR code and fill out a Google form, providing the BEA an opportunity to expand their partnership efforts and build student success.

“When asked what we hoped to accomplish through our efforts, I am reminded of the words of Coretta Scott King,” said Gene Woods. “She said, ‘The greatness of community is most accurately measured by the compassionate actions of its members.’  That, to me, is the epitome of what drives the BEA.”

In addition to the backpack giveaway, the BEA offered two different choices of pencil cases filled with disposable masks, personal hand sanitizers, glue sticks and a 24-pack of Crayola crayons.  Educational pamphlets outlining ways parents and guardians can help their children return to their school buildings safely, along with additional NJEA pamphlets about homework help, understanding IEPs, tips for paying for college and enhancing academic activities were also distributed.

This was the fifth FAST event hosted by the BEA in the last years, and there are plans for several more this school year. If you would like to hear more about the Bayonne Education Association and its FAST events, contact Gene Woods at mrgwoods33@gmail.com

 

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