The news and personal stories coming out of Texas and Florida over the past two weeks have kept me awake. I’ve been praying for friends and family, thinking about how to help, and, honestly, feeling somewhat helpless to truly contribute in the midst of such devastation. I also feel strange pangs of guilt as I’m overcome with gratitude that my loved ones are safe and out of harm’s way, all while watching others suffer from devastating loss.
I know I can speak for everyone on the OPEN team when I say that we’ve experienced great relief as our OPEN National Trainers, US Games teammates, and OPEN members have checked in as safe. But we also know that safety is only the first step; the road to recovery is likely to be long and bumpy for anyone affected.
I’ve spoken with dozens of OPEN National Trainers looking to provide assistance to the teachers in Texas and Florida who are sure to need our ongoing support, especially those with whom we’ve worked closely. During these conversations, we’ve consistently circled back to the first of OPEN’s three core values: We Help Teachers. If we want to truly uphold our core values, it’s clear that we must do whatever we can for the thousands of OPEN members dealing with the aftermath of the storms.
This is why we’re launching the #OPENPEHearts campaign to help OPEN members and OPEN National Trainers rebuild physical education programs impacted by Hurricanes Irma and Harvey. Although our current resources are limited, our hearts are big. We believe in the talent and power of the physical education community. We will act together, as teachers helping teachers.
Step one in this process is to understand the needs of our colleagues. We’re asking all members impacted by the storms to complete a short form to tell us your stories and explain your needs. We’ll take a couple of weeks to collect, organize, and review this data to be sure we’re acting in the best interests of those in need and identifying the most impactful strategy.
Please know that these efforts are not limited to OPEN members. Share our message. If you know of a school with great need, please ask them to fill out the form so that we can help them rebuild.
I can’t promise an overabundance of money or free equipment. What I can promise is that OPEN National Trainers and members have giant hearts, and we are going to do everything we can to make sure teachers impacted by Irma and Harvey have hope and feel the positive impact of a community that cares for one another.
From the bottom of my heart, thank you all for being a part of that community. #OPENPEHearts