Contact: Jamie Leszczynski
Even though school has not been in session since the mandated close on March 13th, educators throughout the Oswego City School District still felt the urge to help their community. A group of 425 teachers and teaching assistants who are members of OCTA (Oswego Classroom Teachers' Association) have been finding unique ways to give back to their students and those on the front lines during this mandated “stay at home” order.
Throughout this pandemic, OCTA spearheaded a "Business Spotlight of the Week" program to help support local community businesses who are still up and running. By spotlighting these businesses, OCTA encourages its members to be patrons of that business throughout the week. Also, as part of this movement, OCTA is gathering donations from its members to purchase gift cards from the business spotlight of the week to support students or essential workers in the community.
Their first project was to put books in the hands of Oswego City School District students. Working in collaboration with the Oswego Bookmobile and River’s End Bookstore as the spotlighted business, members of OCTA used proceeds from their association dues and collected additional donations from members to purchase $1,050 in books from our local bookstore. The books were then donated to the Bookmobile to be distributed to students.
From there, OCTA wanted to reach out to support other essential workers in the community who are helping to keep us safe and who are on the front lines in the community. OCTA President and Oswego High School English teacher, Carrie Patane surveyed its members and Oswego Health was unanimously selected to be the beneficiary of the next project.
Patane and OCTA then identified C's Farm Market as the “Business Spotlight of the Week” as they have been very supportive in assisting with meal distribution throughout the pandemic to students in the district.
“We have been surveying the members of the OCTA to get the names of businesses and essential workers who are critical to keeping our students and community safe and functioning,” shared Carrie Patane. “The Environmental Services Staff was chosen to be recognized because they are required to risk themselves to keep all our community members and health care providers safe. The OCTA is grateful for all they are doing for the families of our students and our loved ones.”
OCTA raised a total of $930 from its members as part of this initiative and identified 62 Environmental Services Employees throughout the Oswego Health healthcare system that would receive gift cards to purchase products from C’s Farm Market.
To date, OCTA has donated $6,000 to the community through their seven week “Business Spotlight of the Week” program.