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Mr. Baker's "Eastway Eagles Soar Together" Fund

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I am Ennis Baker, Dennis's wife of 22 years, and now, his widow. My sweet husband had a cardiac arrest on his way to work and passed away with no warning on 10/5/23 at age 55. To learn more about him see his obituary. Dennis was a father, stepfather and taught Kindergarten and 1st grade in Title 1 schools his whole career (20 years). He taught at Eastway Elementary in Durham Public Schools for over 8 years.

We are still in shock as we try to accept this unfathomable loss and have been so touched by our friends, family and coworkers asking what they can do to honor Dennis's memory and help us cope with the loss of this amazing man. I reached out to his school family at Eastway Elementary and together we came up a great way to do something meaningful that he would have loved. Thank you for considering this opportunity to make a lasting difference for the Eastway Elementary community.

Funds donated will be used to continue the tradition he started at Eastway - the Dads & Kids Breakfast. This event brings children and the important men in their lives together for breakfast before school. Dennis would find speakers to come talk about a variety of topics, the parents and children who attended would tell each other things they loved about each other, do an activity and enjoy a meal together. The events were always well attended and each child and adult was asked to give anonymous feedback. The feedback was unanimously positive and several fathers who attended said it was the first time they had been at an event at the school. They reported feeling welcomed, connecting with their child and with other parents. The funds will be used to provide breakfast, activities, door prizes and to engage additional interpreters as needed to facilitiate communication among the parents.

If enough funds are donated, the school would like to purchase a bike rack and a frisbee golf tee to honor some of Dennis's favorite pastimes and encourage physical activity for the students and to support the PTA and school efforts to strengthen relationships and wellness for Eastway students, staff and families.

For me and my family, it will be such a gift to maintain a connection to his school family and to have a tangible, easy to access resource to make things happen as needs are identified.

Thank you in advance for considering this opportunity!

UPDATE: The Eastway Elementary community invited us to join in their Hispanic Heritage celebration last night and we were able to share the exciting news that this fund is growing rapidly. They have so many needs and great ideas and this money will be used immediately to bring those ideas to life. They all expressed beautifully what a strong source of support, encouragement, laughter and calmness he was for them.

UPDATE #2: Our grief is deep and sometimes overwhelming and we miss him so much. Thank you for giving us a way to support Dennis's school family. We are thrilled with the response and will post updates here as the funds are spent.
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Donations 

  • Emily Kinder
    • $50 
    • 2 mos
  • Elizabeth Newton
    • $200 
    • 2 mos
  • Robin Owens
    • $250 
    • 4 mos
  • Riley Marchman
    • $150 
    • 5 mos
  • Anonymous
    • $50 
    • 7 mos
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Organizer

Ennis Baker
Organizer
Chapel Hill, NC

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