Indian Land parents adopting teachers, support staff to show appreciation as the pandemic continues

Published: Oct. 1, 2021 at 5:37 PM EDT
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INDIAN LAND, S.C. (WBTV) -The South Carolina school year is well underway with a little more than a month and a half in the books.

For the previous 18 months, between masks, quarantines and virtual learning, teachers and support staff have been dealing with difficult teaching conditions. That is why one group, in Indian Land, is stepping in to show a bit of appreciation.

A group of parents has come together to help teachers and school support staff in the six schools in this area feel appreciated.

Many people have heard of adopting a senior. The concept is the same but this time, it is to adopt a teacher and support a staffer.

The idea of the group is to adopt a teacher or school support staff member to give them gifts.

It is random acts of kindness that will help brighten their days during this tough time. These gifts can be gift cards, a favorite snack or even items for the classroom.

Amelia Old and Bridgette West are at the helm of the group and Facebook page as well. It all started when Old had the idea for the appreciation and got West involved to help her run it.

West told WBTV they wanted to start this idea of course because of the pandemic, but also because the beginning of the school year for Indian Land was a tough one.

There was a severe bus driver shortage, hundreds of students and some teachers were quarantined within the first week of school and major traffic jams led to frustrations for everyone.

West says these adoptions can help teachers and support staff feel appreciated and stay focused on the good.

”There was just so much going on so the group was started to just create a little slice of joy,” West said. “Because there was just so much you know negativity in general.”

Through the pandemic, many parents have been divided on the mask issue or whether to have their children do in-person or virtual learning.

One thing they have not been divided on is their appreciation for the teachers and support staff who have continued to teach and care for their children through these tough times.

The co-admins garnered support from more than 800 people in just one month and now teachers and support staff all over the Indian Land area schools are feeling the love.

”Our teachers have been working harder than they’ve ever worked. In the past 18 months they’ve been doing more than their job has ever asked before,” said Allyson Fore, one parent who has been adopting teachers.

As soon as it was announced, Fore jumped at the chance to give back to their teachers. She now has five adoptees.

”I really want our teachers to feel appreciated and taken care of and it makes me feel good that I had a small part in that,” said Fore.

Fore has bought everything from snacks to bottles of wine.

Other parents have done something similar.

There have been Chick-fil-a gift cards, fall-themed baskets and so much more for the teachers and staff.

Fore said the whirlwind of emotions that travel their faces is all the thanks she needs.

”The first one is surprise and then it’s just joy that their day has been brightened,” said Fore. “It’s just to let them know that we care and that we appreciate them.

That care and appreciation are why Old and West decided to create the group in the first place.

”Before they leave the house, these teachers and staffers they are people first and they’re dealing with their own things. Then they come to school to try to teach our students the best they can,” said West.

West said they recognize there has been so much division and sometimes negativity when it comes to protecting the students in the classrooms, but what was beautiful for them was seeing everyone come together for a common goal.

”We wanted to have something that people could feel good about,” West said. “So it was really a way to bring a simple act of joy a little random act of kindness.”

There have already been about 100 teachers and school support staff helped already.

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