Governor Rick Scott proclaimed this week, January 5-9, Florida First Responder Appreciation Week.
Each day, thousands of Floridians risk their lives to protect our families and provide us with medical assistance any time we need it. As a mother and grandmother, I take comfort knowing there are many brave men and women in our state’s communities who have chosen to serve as law enforcement officers, firefighters and paramedics. I’m sure you do as well.
I admire their bravery and selflessness and my heart goes out to the law enforcement community, which has recently suffered the loss of two officers killed in the line of duty and I am proud Governor Scott has designated this week to honor and thank Florida’s first responders.
I have asked all state superintendents to work with the schools, teachers and principals in their districts to remind our students about the sacrifices first responders make daily to keep us safe. I want to also encourage you, as Florida parents, to help your children show support for Florida’s first responders. This is a great opportunity to teach our state’s children a lesson that cannot be found in any textbook – the value of gratitude for those who serve and protect our communities.
There are a number of ways to show support for local responders and let them how much they are appreciated. Below are a few examples I thought of to get children engaged, but I encourage you to find creative ways to incorporate this theme into children’s activities:
- Cards or letters of appreciation;
- Poems or songs that express gratitude;
- Individual drawings, perhaps an illustration depicting how a first responder has helped a student;
- Class posters to hang in hallways as a sign of support for all school visitors to see; and
- Art projects that can be given to first responders to serve as a constant reminder of appreciation.
I know we have many talented students throughout the state and I look forward to seeing all of the wonderful ideas they come up with to thank our first responders. We are going to feature the students work on the department’s Facebook and Twitter pages, as well as our blog.
If you would like to share your demonstrations of appreciation, please email Kassandra Elekes at Kassandra.firstname.lastname@example.org.
About the author: Commissioner Pam Stewart leads the Florida Department of Education, which supports Florida’s Pre-K-12 education system, serving more than 2.7 million students and 192,000 educators. She is a former teacher, principal and deputy superintendent.