angeltreeBrocton– Of all the charitable activities and events placed on CSEA member Barbara Buck’s holiday calendar, the one initiative that brings her the most pride and joy comes from her CSEA team at work.

A Cleaner at Brocton Central School District, Buck helped organize the CSEA Unit’s “Blankets for Kids” drive this holiday season and delivered more than 33 blankets to disadvantaged children in the area. The major goal of the effort, according to Buck, was to add donations to the school’s Angel Tree Project and assist local residents in creating positive memorable Christmas moments for area children and families.

The Angel Tree Project effort was a labor of love for Buck and her coworkers, who conceived of the idea of collecting blankets for the school project after realizing how harsh the winter weather can be in Western New York. It was an entire school effort, where students, administration, faculty and CSEA staff came together for a singular cause.

Brocton Central School is the de-facto center of its community—both by location and support. The rural school district is located 50 miles south of Buffalo nestled along the shores of Lake Erie in Chautauqua County.

Each school day, more than 600 students enter the school building in pursuit of their educational aspirations, with more than 80 percent of graduates enrolling in higher education. Experienced and highly qualified teachers and CSEA staff are the heart of the pre-k through 12th grade educational program at Brocton Central School. And it appears during this holiday season, CSEA members from the Brocton School District are making an unprecedented effort to strengthen community connections.

This was the first year for CSEA members collecting blankets for kids, and Buck was extremely happy with the results. She and her coworkers spread the word by making flyers for all district bulletin boards and made sure the effort entered the conversations at all the water coolers around school. The student’s Honor Society association was responsible for the distribution of the blankets and donated gifts to area families.

Left to Right: Unit President Bruce Woleben, Unit Treasurer Barbara Buck, Valerie Lanphere, Wanda Steward and Unit Secretary Kelly Tanner. Photo provided.

-Ove Overmyer


About Author

Ove Overmyer

Ove Overmyer is an award winning photojournalist and writer who has promoted the virtue of working people and the value of public service throughout his career. His work has been published by many well-respected international media outlets, including PBS Moyers & Co., Steward Update UCS Worker Institute Cornell ILR, CBS News, The Weather Channel, SCI-FY Channel, Associated Press and LOGO-TV. Before joining the CSEA Communications Department staff in 2015, Overmyer was a CSEA member employed by the City of Rochester and an officer of the union for more than 18 years. He covers a 14 county area of Western New York and lives in Rochester, NY.

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