Sunday, April 3, 2016

Quality time with our PSRP members

The plane lands at 1:00 am. 
The drive home is 90 minutes. 
Maybe I'll be in bed by 2:00 am. 
Tomorrow is Monday and a big rally at the capital. 
And it is all worth it. 

Why would I say that?

I spent the last several days at the AFT PSRP PIC, or the professional issues conference for para educators and school support staff. 
Several times I was asked what I thought about and what did I learn from my first PSRP PIC. 
Since becoming state fed VP, and beginning to represent 13,000 educators, (in addition to the healthcare workers and state workers) I have slowly learned more about the education field and our education members and as I have learned, I have come to admire them more and more. 
This conference and the time spent with AFT Connecticut PSRP members, as well as PSRP members from all over the country, continued that education and admiration. 
Let me tell you one story. 
In one session, they were asked what first drew them to the profession. 
One young man, Alex, stood and nervously told his story to a room of hundreds. Members of his local stood with him for support. 
He told of working in a car wash after college and one day while cleaning a car, the owner started crying. 
He instinctively hugged her. 
She told of problems with a family member with mental illness. 
He shared a similar story from his family and the lady found relief. 
Alex said this moment was when he knew he must move on. 
Shortly after this an opportunity came as a para educator and he finds fulfillment in his work. 
The thing is, his story was wonderful, but the room was full of such people. 
They are just as dedicated as our healthcare and public service members, just as committed, just as valuable, and it is an honor and a joy to represent them and come to know them better. 

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