Teachers are some of the most important members of our community. They nurture our children and make a huge impact in their lives. Yet while teaching is a noble profession it is no secret that teachers are highly underpaid.
Despite being underpaid teachers teach because they love what they do. They give selflessly from their hearts and from their wallets to make sure their students have everything they need. In fact, teachers use at least $500 of their own money each year to buy supplies for their students. In some cases that amount can be close to a week’s pay.
In Oakland Park the sacrifice of teachers have not gone unrecognized. Oakland Park Kiwanis Club, a charitable organization dedicated to helping children, has stepped up to help to help teachers.
Kiwanis Club members Rick Melillo and Jane Bolin have spearheaded projects over the last couple of years to help raise money for teachers. This year they are at it again!
Teaming Up For Teachers
The idea to help teachers in the community was born from Rick Melillo, a Kiwanis club member and lifetime Oakland Park resident. Melillo, one of the first students to attend North Andrews Gardens Elementary and one of the first graduates of Northeast High School in 1965, was a volunteer softball coach at Northeast for 16 years and at Monarch High School for 6 years. His wife also taught at Northeast High School for over 30 years. In addition many of his former softball players are now teachers. All this, according to Melillo gave him ” first hand knowledge of the needs of teachers and the money they spend on their students“.
Last year Melillo decided to help one of his “girls”, as his lovingly calls his softball players. With the name recognition of Kiwanis he knew he could make a significant impact. Melillo presented the idea to the other members of Oakland Park Kiwanis and two other members joined in, each adopting one of his “girls”, both former Northeast High School grads and softball players.
To help Melillo with his effort, Jane Bolin, Oakland Park City Commissioner and a Kiwanis member, joined his team and soon a local business donated $3,000 to the new program. Other Kiwanis club members made personal donations and soon they had raised over $5,500.00 for the teachers! Kiwanis used the funds to purchase items teachers had requested : headphones, electric pencil sharpeners, various teaching aids and much more.
Rallying the Team in 2019
This year Bolin is hosting a fundraiser at Big Dog Station in order to is rally the team for teachers. The event will help raise money for Oakland Park’s Elementary School teachers. 100% of every dollar raised will go to Oakland Park Kiwanis’s Adopt-A-Teacher program and will be used to help teachers buy supplies for their students in Oakland Park’s three elementary schools.
Melillo and Bolin have laid the foundation for our community to team up for teachers. Don’t miss your chance to be a part of this amazing team, come support teachers tonight at Big Dog Station from 5:30-7:30 pm. Go team!!
If You Can’t Attend, You Can Still Help
Send checks to
Oakland Park Kiwanis Foundation
P.O. Box 24931
Oakland Park, Fl 33307
or drop off check or cash to
3547 N Dixie Hwy ask for Dennis
Any amount you can donate will make a difference and is appreciated.
“A bunch of small donations will add up quickly to a very helpful amount”.
Oakland Park Kiwanis is 501 3C non-profit.
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About the Author
Désirée Ávila has called Oakland Park her home for over 31 years. In addition to publishing LivingInOaklandPark.com , Désirée publishes, three other blogs and has been featured in print publications, locally and abroad. Désirée was an award winning teacher for 10 years and has a doctoral level education in Educational Technology. She is currently a licensed Florida Realtor® and is committed to a high-level of professionalism and to helping others with their real estate endeavors through education. Désirée is fluent in Portuguese, Spanish, French and Italian.