By Catherine Rose
Working with children with special needs is hard. My son is disabled and yes, I love him to pieces, but I don’t think I could be a teacher. That’s not easy work!
Parents who send their kids to school are often in awe of and feel in debt to their kids’ teachers and supporting staff, even more so when our kids have disabilities or are medically complex. We have to trust the school to not only teach our children, but also care for and respect our children.
And when the school does a good job, we want to show them that we appreciate it!
Have you considered organizing a staff appreciation day? I asked Catherine Rose about the event she’s been organizing for her daughter’s school. She gives some tips for other families who want to show their appreciation too!
What does your event look like?
For the past few years, the parents of the Perkins Deafblind Program have organized a Staff Appreciation Day. We work to recognize the efforts of each member of the Perkins Deafblind Program through food and prizes. We organize food donations throughout the day from fantastic companies from the community and set up food tables for the staff.
We also work to assure that we have a raffle prize for each member of the staff (this year that was 140+ employees!) so that everyone goes home with something special.
How do you do it?
Teamwork! We have a dedicated group of parents who start organizing in January for the March event each year. We divvy up the assignments into small teams (2-3 people) for food, gifts and decorating.
The food team asks local restaurants and delis to donate food items and then parents help pick up and deliver those food donations (as well as bring in some home-baked goods).
The gift team contacts other local stores and companies and asks them to donate items that can be given away to the teachers. We then have a prize raffle for the staff throughout the day. This year’s presents ranged from Build-a-Bear gift cards to Cabot Creamery Cheese to restaurant gift cards. We have a larger raffle for special items, like wine tastings, an iRobot Roomba or a night at the Copley Plaza Hotel.
Of course, we also need support for setting up in the morning and cleaning up at the end of the day!
Is it a lot of work?
Yes, but you can start small. The beautiful thing about appreciation is the sentiment, so size doesn’t matter. You’ll find that parents are eager to show appreciation to the team members who support their kids’ achievements. They’ll be happy to help!
Also, people in your community are generous, too! For this year’s event, we asked 400 donors for gifts – we received 100. When looking for prize and food donations, be sure to write a compelling story and reach beyond your direct circles.
It is truly a rewarding day!
For more information about the donors or to see more photos of the event, visit Facebook.
Please post comments below if you have questions!