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Around the UFT

Harlem Week 2023

‘We are neighbors’
New York Teacher
Harlem Week 2023
Pat Arnow

Paraprofessional Margaret Ward of  PS 146 in Brooklyn answers questions for a festival-goer who stops at the UFT booth.

UFT members and staff handed out books, backpacks, school supplies and other goodies to students and their families at the Harlem Week Children’s Festival at Howard Bennett Playground on Aug. 20. For Sharon Anderson, the paraprofessional coordinator for the UFT’s Bronx borough office who has staffed the UFT booth for six years, it’s a day that provides practical support for families as well as a fun time. “Students come out, dance, enjoy the food and play the games, which they love, but they also love getting books — and their parents love getting the school supplies,” she said. Anderson particularly enjoys helping the community get to know the UFT. “They ask questions and give us feedback,” she said. The union presence at Harlem Week is an opportunity to connect families and UFT members, said Nicholas Cruz, the UFT director of community and parent engagement — a chance to show that “we are more than a labor union. We are neighbors.”