GREENVILLE – The Greenville Education Association (GEA) worked with Greenville First Christian Church and Greenville University to set up the Education Connection, which provides childcare for educators who work in Bond County Unit 2 School District.
“If we didn’t do something, we’d have several teachers and other support staff who would not have been able to return to work and that would mean our students wouldn’t have been able to get the education they deserve,” GEA Co-President Susan Corbus said. “COVID meant some daycares weren’t available and it also meant issues with children of our teachers who are remote learning.”
The GEA started by surveying its membership to find out how many educators needed help. The results showed 40-45 children were in need of care. Greenville First Christian Church offered to let the Education Connection use its building and then Greenville University offered to provide credit to college students who volunteered their time at the new childcare center.
“I am so grateful my children have somewhere to go so I can go help my other kids, my students.” Teacher Melissa McGuire said. “It’s something I was very stressed about and couldn’t find a good solution for – that is until my union stepped up to help me and our entire community.”
“It’s really been a communitywide effort. Everyone who heard about the childcare issues wanted to help and everyone has stepped up to help,” Corbus said.
“When the Bond County School District reached out to us regarding the Ed Connection, we were honored and excited to help. The teachers and administrators in the school district have always been a huge support system for Greenville University students, and this was a great way for GU to give back,” Greenville University Director of Field Experience Amanda Worker said. “The Ed Connection provides a great experience for our Education Majors to continue to work with school-aged children in a time where support and encouragement are priceless. This is a win-win partnership and we are blessed to be a part of the Bond County community.”
District 2 serves more than 1,800 students from Greenville, Pocahontas and Sorento. School began on Tuesday. All students in the district are currently learning remotely or through a hybrid model. Teachers and support staff are reporting to school buildings every day.
Education Connection will be supervised by newly retired teacher, Scott Spencer. The Education Connection provide care for as long as it is needed. Donations are suggested to allow generosity to program volunteers. All funds received will be given to those helping with the program.
The 135,000 member Illinois Education Association (IEA-NEA) is the state’s largest education employee’s organization. IEA represents preK-12 teachers outside of the city of Chicago and education support staff, higher education faculty, retired education employees and students preparing to become teachers, statewide.