Dear parents, grandparents, guardians and education activists,
I want to belatedly wish you a happy new year and thank you for all your contributions to UFT projects and initiatives in both 2020 and 2021. With a new president and Senate majority, I'm optimistic about the future for all public school families, including those made up of immigrants, people of color, LGBTQ people, people with disabilities and anyone else who has coped with fear and persecution over the last four years.
Many of you helped us with our food bank initiative over the past two months. We partnered with local restaurants and food banks to distribute 20,000 meals to hungry New Yorkers — 1,000 meals per week in each of the five boroughs.
It was just one of several ways you've recently helped the UFT to make a difference. Below you'll find more pictures and stories from UFT parent and community initiatives. You will also read about opportunities and upcoming events that we hope will improve your life, just as your contributions improve our work. Thank you for all you do for your family, your community and the UFT.
UFT Director of Community and Parent Engagement
24/7 mental health support from UFT BRAVE
The UFT's BRAVE Campaign, short for Building Respect, Acceptance and Voice through Education, provides educators and families with the tools to confront and stop bullying. One of the BRAVE campaign’s resources is a mental health hotline that provides students with live support from licensed mental health professionals. Since mid-March 2020, the BRAVE hotline has expanded its mental health support to cover any issues students are facing, not just issues related to bullying.
I'm so excited to announce that we're now able to expand the BRAVE Campaign's mental health support hours. Students can speak with a mental health professional 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, by phone at 212-709-3222 or by texting BRAVE to 43961.
Our First Book giveaway
The UFT Brooklyn parent and community outreach committee celebrated the winter holidays in December by providing nearly 200 families with free books, backpacks and other goodies. Through the UFT's First Book program, they handed out about 4,000 books.
Upcoming UFT events
- Thursday, Feb. 4: There will be a workshop about child care enrollment for children ages 6 weeks to 3 years from 5 to 6 p.m. online via Zoom. You can read more details and reserve your spot by visiting the event listing.
- Thursday, Feb. 11: Come to a workshop about the high school admissions process from 5 to 6 p.m. online via Zoom. For more details and to register, visit the event listing.
Solidarity with workers at Hunts Point Produce Market
UFT representatives turned out to support workers at Hunts Point Produce Market in the Bronx. The workers were striking for a living wage after working long hours under unavoidably dangerous conditions to keep Bronx residents fed through the pandemic. They won a three-year contract with a wage increase.
UFT programs and opportunities
- Apply for a $5,000 UFT scholarship: Each year, the UFT awards $1 million in scholarships to New York City high school seniors who show academic promise and are financially eligible through the Albert Shanker College Scholarship Fund. The deadline this school year to apply for a $5,000 scholarship has been extended to Friday, Feb. 26. Detailed information about the Shanker scholarships is posted on the UFT website. If your child is a graduating senior, encourage them to apply!
- Free homework help from Dial-A-Teacher: K-12 students and their parents or caregivers are invited to call 212-777-3380 Mondays through Thursdays between 4 and 7 p.m. to get free homework help from a licensed teacher. Many of the teachers are bilingual, so Dial-A-Teacher can assist students and families in 10 languages, including Armenian, Bengali, Chinese, English, French, Haitian-Creole, Korean, Russian, Spanish and Tagalog.