Think about your favorite teacher(s). 

What made them your favorite? Do you have a fun memory of them that makes you smile? How did they make your least favorite subject enjoyable (or at least tolerable)? 

What dreams did they inspire you to chase with full force? 

At United Inner City Services (UICS), we recognize that the role of a teacher expands much further than our centers’ walls permit. Teachers are advocates, playmates, cheerleaders, artists, supporters, and so much more…

They are essential. 

After the pandemic began, our teachers pivoted quickly and graciously to meet the needs of our students and families.

 

They learned new skills and technologies to offer virtual learning experiences from home. They reimagined curriculums with mastery. Teachers showed up to help with our Curbside Pick Up program where families received essential supplies. They called our families and sent personal cards to our students to let them know how much they were missed during UICS’ original two-month closure. And now, with us in the midst of a two-week closure of our three school facilities, educators are rising again, preparing to lead classes from home and re-engaging with meeting the holistic needs of our families once again.

They provided exceptional security, care, and high-quality early education while also balancing responsibilities at home with their own children and families. 

We know it hasn’t been easy. 

 

Gratitude

As we enter a season of gratitude, UICS couldn’t be more thankful for the core facilitators of our work. Teachers are integral to our mission and have exceeded expectations despite every obstacle this year has thrown at us.

We work diligently to elevate recognition and achievement of our teachers and the field of early childhood education. An investment in our teachers is an even bigger investment in our society. Supporting and empowering strong educators lengthens their tenure in education. This encourages multiple generations of little learners to grow with confidence to become leaders and positively contribute to the world.

To show our appreciation for our teachers, UICS leadership recently organized multiple efforts, including a very sweet delivery to all of our three center locations…. ice cream!

During UICS’ most recent Professional Development day, ice cream trucks pulled into each UICS center parking lot to distribute prepackaged ice cream treats to teachers and staff. 

“I don’t know what to get! There are so many options.” said Ms. Jeannie Sepulveda, teacher at UICS-St. Mark Center, as she reviewed the ice cream selection. 

UICS-Metro Center teacher, Ms. Lashanna White (Ms. Shay) shared, “The ice cream truck was a surprise to us all. I think we needed that break during professional development.” 

At UICS, we know gestures of appreciation can create a lasting impact in creating a positive work environment and company culture. 

“UICS makes me feel valued and cared for. I appreciate everything they do for us!” offered Ms. Marissa Harrell, UICS-Metro Center teacher. 

Our teachers have also been a most worthy recipient of an exceptional act of generosity and kindness from one of our community partners, Church of the Resurrection. 

“We have been aware of the significant burden of teachers and childcare providers throughout the pandemic, and we have been limited in our ways to serve.” explained Patrick McLaughlin, Community Pastor at Church of the Resurrection – Downtown.

Pastor Patrick recently led an initiative with volunteers from his congregation to send notes of appreciation and encouragement to our teaching staff at all three UICS schools. 

“We decided that a kind word, even from a stranger, was one way we could try to encourage and brighten the day of educators. We solicited volunteers, sent them the materials they would need, and set them free to joyfully serve. We were overwhelmed by the response of the congregation and are equally joyful that the cards are being well received.” 

With bright smiles, our teachers continue to make our students and families feel safe and supported in a time of uncertainty and unrest. Their commitment to our work and those we serve has never wavered. In fact, it has been strengthened and invigorated.

“Our goal is to encourage and give hope to intrinsically motivated folks who we know are working hard and putting themselves at risk.” added Pastor Patrick. 

“We want them to know that we see them, hear them, and that if we can help them in any way– we want to do it!”

Last, but not least, QuikTrip recently supplied a token of appreciation for our teachers by providing UICS more than 100 free drink vouchers for staff to use at any location. Sometimes, a simple drink break is what we all need. 

We are humbled by the generous spirit our community shares in a time where it is needed more than ever. 

If you know a teacher, we ask you to consider joining us in sending them some extra love and light right now. These essential workers are making sacrifices and working harder than ever to build bridges, inspire minds, and impact futures.