Congratulations and thank you to the Needham Education Foundation (NEF) as it celebrates 25 years of extraordinary leadership and commitment to the students and staff of the Needham Public Schools!
For 25 years the wise and tireless work of NEF board members and volunteers has enabled the Needham Public Schools to provide innovative and inspiring programming for children. In fact, in the last 25 years, the NEF has funded over 500 grants totaling $2.2 million! Over the years, tens of thousands of students have enjoyed and benefited from imaginative and dynamic learning experiences and programs that would not have been possible without the NEF’s exceptional support and encouragement. Spurred on by generous donors, the NEF’s work goes way beyond funding. The NEF, in a close collaboration with teachers, administrators, parents, and students has provided expertise, perspective, and deep experience to assist the schools to envision, shape, and develop educational programs. The dollars certainly make things possible, but it is also the collective energy, wisdom, and inspiration of NEF members who support our thinking and encourage us to go further than we thought possible.
I learned a long time ago as a young teacher in South Central LA, in a neighborhood racked by poverty, violence, and despair, that a school can only thrive—children can only succeed—if the local community embraces its mission of educating all students and providing opportunities for them to grow into imaginative, responsible, and engaged citizens. Needham is far removed from the streets of Watts, but the need for community and caring is as important here as it was there. A school systems flourishes—children grow—when adults in the community figure out ways to connect and build relationships to nurture student achievement. Smart and caring communities, like Needham, collaborate to build a network and web of caring, learning, and support.
And that is what the NEF is all about: Compassionate and talented people with good heads and eager hearts coming together to provide ideas, resources, and inspiration so that teachers can create the kind of experiences that will allow children to thrive. In the end, the NEF is all about the promise of education and empowering young minds and bodies. It is a vivid demonstration of the power and the value of community. It is clearly a message and a mission of hope and love.
I am humbled by the generosity of the NEF and all of those in this remarkable community who sustain its work. It is an honor for me to work in the shadows of parents, civic officials and community leaders who so deeply believe in young people and are committed to their success.
Thank you, NEF. And on your 25th, Happy Birthday!
For more information about the NEF or to donate: http://www.nefneedham.org/