It’s National Teacher Appreciation Week, a time when everyone should stop to thank our educators for all they do to build strong communities. The American Red Cross in Greater New York is proud to count many wonderful teachers among our dedicated volunteers. This week, we want to spotlight their amazing commitment, compassion and talent.
Debora has been a teacher for 28 years and first got involved with the Red Cross in high school, when she joined her Red Cross Club. Currently, Debora is a volunteer with the Metro New York North Chapter and serves on the Disaster Action Team and as as a Mass Care - Shelter Manager and Feeding Lead for Sullivan County during disasters. She is a member of the Mass Care Leadership Team and also works closely with the Biomedical Services team, arranging, sponsoring, and working at local blood drives. Deb represents the Red Cross at many community events, where she hands out preparedness material. Recently, she has helped with Home Fire Preparedness installations of free smoke detectors.
Q: What inspired you to be a teacher?
A: I always thought I would be a teacher. In 6th grade I thought I'd be a math teacher. In 9th grade I thought I'd be a music teacher. When my son was diagnosed with a disability, I wanted to learn more about what his education would be like. So, I went into elementary and special education.
Q: If you wanted to share one thing about teaching with us what would it be?
A: To be a good teacher, you have to care about your students like they are one of your own. You have to be gentle yet firm, always consistent with all of them, say what you mean and mean what you say. They biggest thing is don't be afraid to let them know you care about each one of them.
Q: What made you decide to volunteer with the Red Cross?
A: I was introduced to Red Cross in high school. I joined the Red Cross Club in the early 1970s. Later, the Red Cross helped my family get in touch with my sister serving in Italy to let her know my father passes away. When I had the opportunity to start a club at school, I met with the local Red Cross leader, Betty Popovich, and began working with her as the advisor to the club and getting instructor training. I wanted to help the community and teach the middle school students the importance of volunteering and giving back to the community.
Q: What characteristics do you think a teacher and a Red Cross volunteer have in common?
A: The common characteristics are caring about people, having compassion, being empathetic, supportive, helpful, organized, and concern for individuals, groups, and the community.
To learn more about volunteering with the Red Cross visit www.redcross.org/gnyvolunteer
Read more teacher profiles at: http://changinglivesstorybook.blogspot.com/