Brian Jodice of Parents for Educational Freedom in North Carolina has been highlighting the efforts of schools across his region to help their communities in the wake of Hurricane Florence. He spoke with Andrew about the work he saw at Fayetteville Christian School and the school choice in North Carolina.
Andrew Campanella: Hurricane Florence has been devastating for so many people in the Carolinas. How are schools coming together to provide support for families in their communities?
Brian Jodice: We’ve been blown away by the outpouring of support from local schools in or near areas impacted by Hurricane Florence. The case of Fayetteville Christian School is just one of many. In so many instances, schools are opening their doors to become distribution centers for essential supplies—food and water, toiletries, clothing, basic medical supplies, etc.—to needy folks. What’s more, students from these schools are donating their free time volunteering to help distribute supplies. Even schools in areas not directly impacted by the hurricane are collecting supplies for those in need and ensuring they get shipped to impacted areas.
We know that school choice greatly benefits individual students, families, and communities as a whole—but to see the voluntary outpouring of generosity from these institutions of choice in a time of need is awesome and inspiring.
Andrew Campanella: What is being done to help make sure there’s as little interruption in student learning as possible with power outages and displacement?
Brian Jodice: Some schools are doing make up days to keep their schedules on course. Crews are continuing to work on clean up to restore power in areas that still need it.
Andrew Campanella: We know that PEFNC works year-round to let parents know about their options. What extra steps are you taking to help parents and students in the aftermath of the storm?
Brian Jodice: We’re trying to tell as many stories as possible about the ways that schools of choice are helping in the wake of Hurricane Florence. Last week, our video team hopped in the car and headed down to Fayetteville Christian Academy, bringing donated supplies to help out. Our hope is that our video of Fayetteville Christian’s efforts in the community will encourage more Americans to give for hurricane relief. In addition to sharing their story, we also went down with cases of water and supplies to donate.
Andrew Campanella: Stories like that of Fayetteville Christian School are so encouraging to watch, and they happen all the time. Do you think the media needs to pay more attention to this type of work that schools do?
Brian Jodice: Absolutely! This is a simple story of a local school helping its community. No politics involved! Just generosity and outreach. One of our goals here at PEFNC is to encourage more media outlets across the state to tell the truth about the amazing work that schools of choice are doing—both inside AND outside the classroom.
Andrew Campanella: Obviously, celebrating National School Choice Week is the furthest thing from the minds of those in your area right now, but what advice do you have for schools that are planning to participate?
Brian Jodice: We encourage schools to use National School Choice Week as another opportunity to tell families about help available through NC’s three educational choice programs: the Opportunity Scholarship Program, Children with Disabilities Grant, and Education Savings Account. We also recommend that schools encourage their families to proudly identify with their schools of choice via social media during NSCW and to share their experiences and stories. And finally, we’re looking forward to hitting the road next January to share stories of school choice success from across our state!
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