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  • karlyssa2

Volunteer of the Year

After I retired from 37 years of experience, I have been substituting for our public schools for the last 3 years while juggling being an advocate for our education profession in Frankfort. As a member of KEA and am a co-leader of the KY 120 United Teachers Retiree Zone, I am a strong advocate for our public

schools. This platform provides retired teachers & school support staff to inform, communicate & respond to our legislators with feedback on issues dealing with our health insurance & pensions.

In March 2020, my volunteer efforts had to make a hard pivot to support our healthcare workers with the Global Pandemic. Because there was so few N95’s, healthcare workers asked for sewing groups to create face masks to cover their N95’s to help preserve them. When scrub caps became scare, I then took another pivot to sew scrub caps for hospitals in located in New York City, Florida, Kentucky, Indiana, Ohio & Michigan.

I was in two sewing groups that were organized virtually called “Masks & Scrub Caps for Nurses” & “Superhero Mask Project.

Once the PPE started arriving for our healthcare workers in the summer, I took another pivot to start providing homemade face masks for poverty students learning in Title 1 Schools. We have been sewing & continue to sew face masks for schools across the county, but especially in Lexington.

When our healthcare workers in Kentucky became overworked near Thanksgiving, I was asked to help coordinate various groups to support the rural hospitals. I began reaching out to other retired teaching colleagues in various parts of the state. We began collecting hand cream, chap stick, scrub caps, individually wrapped snacks for the rural hospitals around the state.

In December, I pivoted to help our children who are very sick. With another group of active & retired teachers, we created flannel blankets to donate to the Project Linus Blanket Program. These blankets to go children at the Ronald McDonald House & hospitals.

Because I could no longer substitute during the pandemic, I have had to juggle helping our grandsons with their virtual learning when their parents had to work. My daughter is a Lexington school administrator. When she was unable to be with her sons, I juggled the responsibility of helping them learn virtually.

My efforts totaled 1,122 hours with $840.00 worth of items donated.

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