Even before early childhood educators nationwide got a shout-out from President Obama at the Democratic National Convention, the Early Childhood Federation of Teachers in Los Angeles County was busy reaching out to its own community.
The AFT local co-sponsored a back-to-school community fair that drew hundreds of families to a neighborhood park in August. There, under a blazing sun, AFT members handed out about a thousand school bags: lunch totes to preschoolers and backpacks stuffed with school supplies to older children. The members also distributed AFT brochures on Colorín Colorado, autism, science and helping children learn to read.
Nearly 30 unions, businesses and education agencies, along with some elected officials—all part of a new coalition called Brighter Futures Start Now‐sponsored the fair. The event included entertainment by Aztec dancers, Radio Disney and Telemundo. A group of union healthcare workers called La Salud Empieza Aqui, or Health Starts Here, conducted free health screenings to about 100 people.
The Early Childhood Federation of Teachers represents about 1,200 teachers, associate teachers and support staff who provide early childhood education through Head Start programs in Los Angeles County, which includes the city of Los Angeles and more than 80 other towns and cities. The AFT affiliate has added dozens of new members over the past year and created a buzz this past summer by offering three professional development classes, including AFT-sponsored first aid training. This union is intent on empowering the professionals who educate and care for young children.
The back-to-school fair was the first in what is hoped to be an annual event. [Annette Licitra/photo by Armando Arorizo]
September 10, 2012