The 2016 Legacy Project

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                                                   By Bobbie Margo

Since 2015, NEA has replaced “OUTREACH TO TEACH”  -  (remember “OUTREACH” was a school make-over in a day) with “THE LEGACY PROJECT.”  “LEGACY” stands for “Leaders Empowering Grassroots Advocacy for Communities and Youth.”
This year’s project took place at the Convention Center in downtown Washington, D.C.  The main source of volunteer workers came from the NEA-Student and the NEA-Retired members.  This year’s T-shirt color was hot pink-a loud and lively color!
Volunteers moved from table to table every 15-30 minutes to work on community service projects like building Little Free Libraries, putting together care packages for homeless shelters, creating decorated hand puppets containing notes of inspiration for cancer patients, and “Pencils of Hope Stations,” which were letter writing stations to encourage educators to become mentors to student teachers.
Three ED MN retirees participated in this year’s Legacy Project, Larry Koenck worked at the “Pencils of Hope Station,” Charles Hellie worked at putting together care packages for homeless shelters, and I worked on building Little Free Libraries.  In Minnesota, we are very lucky to have such Little Free Libraries in many of our communities/neighborhoods  (as an aside, our own Sharon Kjellberg built a Free Library for her St. Paul neighborhood) However, such is not the case in other communities/states.  I worked building over 30 libraries.  Each library came in a kit. (crafted by AMERICAN workers!)  Together with other team members, I painted and pounded and helped to put together each library.  This doll house-sized library box will stand on a post in a community or neighborhood that needs more access to books.  (Free Library team members signed up for this project beforehand, and we also brought books to put into the libraries!)  More Little Free Library information can be found at littlefreelibrary.org/shop.
All of the LEGACY projects are the perfect way to introduce future educators to how to lead hands-on projects in their classrooms.  By working with retired members, it’s the perfect way to show such new educators how being an NEA member is like being part of a family.