How Can I Help?

“How can I help?” Four magical words that I need to remember to say more often to friends, family, and colleagues.

Here’s how six volunteers are helping Stand Illinois fight for educational equity and justice. Perhaps they may spark in you an idea for helping others; these folks definitely inspire me.

Melissa Hostetter is a first-grade teacher who is active in the Illinois Early Literacy Coalition. She’s playing a critical role in increasing awareness – including among legislators – around the reasons why Illinois must step up its game in early literacy. Melissa recently spoke at “Literacy & Justice for All,” an event hosted by the Coalition. (Her presentation begins at 10:56). Melissa explains in an incredibly approachable way about achievable policy changes to support reading instruction for Illinois students.

Stand’s COVID Safety Care campaign is targeting some of the areas that have been hardest hit by COVID-19. The care team went to over 2,000 doors in three weeks, sharing resources for getting the facts about COVID. None of this would have been possible without the help of good people like the amazing Nastassia BallardKeith Wilson, and Savannah Snyder. (They’re pictured with Stand staff member Tommorrow Snyder.)

As we celebrate Veterans’ Day this week, we say a special thank you to Keith for his service to our country. Keith is an Army veteran who served in the Middle East. Our hugs to you, Keith.

Next up, amazing parents and students are volunteering with the Learn from History Coalition. In order for students to create a better society, schools need to provide a thorough, accurate, and fact-based history education. Among the many contributions made by Laurie Goldstein to this effort is sharing her story with the Illinois Times. Equally powerful are efforts from Jennifer Lind, who was a guest on the Beyond the Beltway radio program.

Please also join me in congratulating three staff members for their recent promotions.

As our Government Affairs Director for over 10 years, Jessica Handy played a key role in every education-related policy that Stand has fought for, while also devoting significant time to our bi-partisan political work. Jessica has been so motivated by the amazing people she met through our recent early literacy work that she has begun Orton-Gillingham training so she can tutor children who struggle with reading. She will transition to the role of Stand’s Policy Director where she will continue to lead the Early Literacy Coalition and focus on policy and implementation matters. Meanwhile, Aimee Galvin, is stepping into the Government Affairs Director role. She’s more than hit the ground running already, building off her political, agency-level, and coalition efforts for the last several years at Stand.

Tommorrow Snyder has been promoted to Community and Family Partnerships Director. The title is long because her reach is so far; Tommorrow’s work with policymakers, parents, and community members is always impactful, innovative, and honest.

If we can help you, please let me know. If you would like to help us, well, please also let me know.

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