Unions partner with community allies, old and new

Classified are WELL OUT IN FRONT of the AFL-CIO’s new resolve to ramp up its partnering with community allies. Members are linking arms in efforts that especially resonate during the holidays.

Every child deserves Shoes that Fit
The College Staff Guild in Los Angeles is working with Shoes That Fit to help kids start their day on the right foot. The non-profit is dedicated to providing new shoes to needy children so they can attend school in comfort and with dignity.

“Wearing the wrong size shoe is painful, totally distracts from the learning process, and is so demoralizing,” said Guild Vice President Dorothy Bates. The local adopted two schools near each college and the union office. Bates and others are gathering pledges from members willing to purchase new shoes for children.

Crafty classified create college tradition
In Lancaster, the holiday season kicks off when the Antelope Valley College Federation of Classified Employees hosts its annual Super Craft Fair. The tradition began 15 years ago when two retired members organized the first fair. Now scores of classified help out.

This year, more than 100 vendors hawked handmade crafts. Many of the artisans are staff members and students. With monies earned, the local set up the Classified Union Scholarship Fund that has benefited more than 50 students.

Giving kids their First Book
In the last two years, Local 1475 has given away about 5,000 books and backpacks filled with school supplies at back-to-school festivals through the AFT’s First Book program.

“We let students pick the book they want. The looks on their faces when they realize they get to keep the books are wonderful,” said Ruben Siguenza, president of the L.A.-based local representing early educators at five Head Start agencies.

“Teaching a child the value of a book, encouraging them to read at an early age, planting that seed, means they will do better throughout their school years,” said Siguenza.

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