I have attended several Holocaust Conferences: Echoes and Reflections (2015), Teaching the Holocaust for Social Justice (2015 & 2017), and Facing History and Ourselves: Democracy at Risk (2018). These conferences have changed the way I teach and this in turn has changed the lives of my students. I feel that this is the most important unit I teach all year. The students participate in their community by researching a rescuer or upstander. Students gain hope because they see people helping people against all odds, and they are able to understand even how small acts of kindness help. This has become my favorite part of the unit.
This semester I have the opportunity to pilot a contemporary antisemitism lesson through Echoes and Reflections. The lesson considers the harm of being a bystander, introduces a few modern-day activists, and incorporates role-playing of real-life scenarios. My hope is that it will equip students to be upstanders. My goal is to help students to understand the need to speak up when they see injustice.
I have been accepted to an Echoes and Reflections Advanced Learning Seminar at Yad Vashem in Jerusalem, Israel June 19-29, 2018. I will also be able to attend the 10th International Conference on Holocaust Education. I am very excited to continue learning about the Holocaust, collaborate with other educators, and bring back fresh ideas, materials, and lessons to my students and colleagues! This seminar includes: Tuition, transportation from seminar to hotel, lodging, and one meal per day. To be able to attend this once in a life time opportunity, I need to raise $3000 for air travel and additional meals. To assist with financing this, I have taken a part time job. Additionally, I am looking for sponsors to help make my journey possible. Any donation would be greatly appreciated.
Thank you for taking the time to read my letter and consider my request. I am available to answer questions.
- Billie Varnadore
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