History teacher Kari Overall got a day off her job at Boise’s South Junior High on May 20. Her very special substitute teacher was none other than Idaho Education Association President Sherri Wood, who helped students navigate a timely lesson on the history of organized labor in the United States.
Overall won her day off via a drawing at the IEA’s statewide convention last month. Her name was selected from among convention delegates who found 15 people to donate at least $15 each to the IEA Children’s Fund in honor of the fund’s 15th anniversary.
Yet even after 15 years, the IEA Children’s Fund remains unknown to most Idahoans. IEA members access the fund to help students meet emergency needs ranging from eyeglasses to dental work to a new pair of shoes.
The IEA Children’s Fund started in 1996 and has since made more than 3,950 grants totaling almost $910,000 to IEA member educators who – since they spend so much time with children – are often among the first to notice when a student faces an extraordinary need for help.
To protect students’ privacy, the IEA releases neither the names of the students who are helped nor the members making the requests to assist them.
The Fund began at the IEA’s statewide convention in 1996, where members raised more than a thousand dollars to launch it. It continues to grow, even in economic downturns.In just two days, IEA members at the 2011 Delegate Assembly raised $25,498 for the fund through a silent auction and other donations.
IEA members – who include about 13,000 of Idaho’s teachers, classroom aides, librarians, janitors, bus drivers, cafeteria workers, and other school personnel – also raise money for the fund via a voluntary payroll deduction.
Students can kick in, too: Sixth-grade student council members at William Thomas Middle School recently donated $150 that they’d raised during the past school year.
Members of the public are welcome to contribute as well. To donate, send a check payable to the IEA Children’s Fund to the Idaho Education Association, P.O. Box 2638, Boise, ID 83701. The IEA Children’s Fund is a 501(c)(3) organization, so contributions are tax deductible.