Helping others on and off the job
Have a Heart Month celebrates the charitable efforts of CSEA members
CSEA members keep school campuses clean and safe for California’s kids as part of their everyday jobs, and spend their free time working within their communities to help others. For many members, public service is an everyday part of life. In recognition of the help and service members give to their communities and each other, February is designated as CSEA Have a Heart Month.
Association President Allan Clark said he is proud of the way members look to help others and serve their communities.
“CSEA members are generous with their time and resources to help those who are less fortunate or going through a rough patch,” Clark said. “Volunteering in your community is extremely rewarding, and I wholeheartedly recommend getting involved and helping others.”
Whether participating in clothing or toy drives, planning or participating in American Cancer Society Relay For Life events, members volunteering as mentors or Big Brothers/Sisters, serving on board for charitable organizations, or just volunteering free time with local church or youth groups, CSEA members give wherever possible. Helping people seems to come naturally to members.
“Classified employees are the backbone of the community, whether it be in the schools, the community or service organizations,” Past President Rob Feckner said.
Getting involved in community organizations and charitable giving can be a bit daunting if you don’t know where to start. One of the easiest ways to volunteer and get involved is through service clubs. Most of these longstanding groups were formed with a mission of providing services to the less fortunate, sick and impoverished. A service club is a type of voluntary organization where members meet regularly to socialize and perform charitable work either by direct hands-on efforts or by raising money for other organizations. Most of these organizations are nonprofit and consist of volunteer members who dedicate time to assist the groups’ efforts.
Some examples of service clubs are Rotary International and Lions Club International. These service clubs have local chapters throughout the state and country, and can be found on their websites (see sidebar).
Dorothy Bjork Assistance Fund
The generosity of members is truly evident when it comes to the Dorothy Bjork Assistance Fund . The fund was created to help CSEA members and is named in honor of Dorothy Bjork, association president from 1984 to 1986. Under her leadership, CSEA undertook its first disaster relief effort, which helped scores of members recover from devastating floods in Northern California. Today, her legacy lives on, as CSEA members’ donations and volunteer efforts help hundreds of other members recover from natural disasters and personal crises.
The Dorothy Bjork Assistance Fund provides three types of financial help: disaster, emergency and humanitarian assistance. Not a single cent in the fund comes from members’ union dues—all of the money is donated from members and staff, and is raised through events like an annual golf tournament, passing the hat at the Annual Conference and monthly “Share the Joy” luncheons held at CSEA Headquarters in San Jose.
The Dorothy Bjork Assistance Fund was created to help CSEA members and staff through tough times, the fund is named in honor of the CSEA president who organized the union’s first disaster relief effort. The fund provides three types of financial help: disaster, emergency and humanitarian assistance. CSEA designates every February as Have-a Heart Month to focus on fundraising for the program.
“The Dorothy Bjork Assistance Fund is a shining example of how our members come together to help each other when times are tough,” Clark said. “The generosity of members shows that an injury to one truly is an injury to all.”