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Parents get into the spirit

New York Teacher
Parents get into the spirit
Erica Berger

Shante Wilkerson and her daughter, 3rd-grader Chayse, pose for their photo. 

UFT members at PS 536 in the Bronx marked Breast Cancer Awareness Month on Oct. 16 with an event designed to keep their school family and extended family in the pink of health. Students’ moms and other female role models were invited to the school, where they received breakfast and informational material about breast cancer. They also posed for photographs in front of a backdrop of pink ribbons put up for the occasion. “Everybody wore pink,” said Barbara Garcia, a staff coordinator at the school and one of the event organizers. “The kids, their families — even staff.” Nearly 100 participants received handouts listing the locations of mammogram providers in the Bronx, instructions on performing breast self-exams and information on the causes of breast cancer. Each also received a pink Breast Cancer Awareness ribbon. Paraprofessional Elizette Benitez, another organizer, said the event was open to any female role model a student wanted to bring, including sisters, aunts and grandmothers. “A lot of kids don’t have both their parents,” she explained. The event helped educators better connect with their students’ families, Benitez said. “We got to see some moms we’ve never met.” The PS 536 school community includes many immigrant families, and not all of them speak English. “They can be scared about going to doctors,” Benitez said. “So we gave them the information.” Jennie Lopez, the mother of a 1st-grader, said she’s definitely more educated about breast cancer and its risks now and felt “comfortable” learning in the environment of the school. “It’s like a family,” Lopez said. Benitez said the mothers were already asking about next year’s event. “This is definitely going to be a new tradition,” she said.

Related Topics: Breast Cancer Awareness