New Jersey Education Association (NJEA) Takes on Race for the Cure 2017
Clad in pink, with bright smiles, over 50 members of the New Jersey Education Association (NJEA) walked side-by-side at the 2017 Race for the Cure, enjoying yet another year supporting Susan G. Komen Central and South Jersey. Team NJEA fundraises all year and gets up before the sun rises on Race Day with one goal in mind: to end this disease forever.
“I don’t think it’s an exaggeration to say that every single one of our over 200,000 members have someone in their lives who fought breast cancer,” said Dawn Hiltner, Associate Director for Organizing & Coalition Building at NJEA. “It makes sense to support Komen’s efforts to save the lives of our loved ones.”
NJEA has been an incredibly generous sponsor of Race for the Cure since 2003, and one of the event’s top fundraisers. This year, team NJEA raised over $4,400 for the fight against breast cancer.
In addition to collecting funds year-round for Race for the Cure, NJEA staff and members have bake sales and gift card drawings, and hold gift basket drawings at conferences.
“These events ensure that more of our NJEA members and staff can get involved, even if they choose not to walk or run the Race,” said Hiltner.
Not only does NJEA raise an impressive amount of funds, but the team comes strong with hundreds of members each year. Their team brings together the New Jersey education community of all ages, from pre-service teachers to retired educators.
Hiltner said they employ fun recruitment strategies to stir up some spirit and competition, as well as utilize their social media, website and magazine.
“A few years ago, we started getting NJEA t-shirts for our team and purchasing pink banners for all of our locals who come out to the race. It creates a bit of a competition to see who can get the biggest team, but it also brings us together for a common cause,” said Hiltner.
At the heart of fundraising and recruitment is our shared vision of a world without breast cancer. Every year, NJEA celebrates its many members of their staff who are survivors, and honors those who are there in spirit.
“I think we all can think of someone we have known and loved who has fought this horrible disease. Many of our staff and members are survivors, and sadly, too many others have lost their fight,” said Hiltner. “Joining the team and helping in the fight is empowering.”
Race for the Cure has been an event to help Team NJEA through loss, bringing members together to honor the memory of beloved colleagues and friends.
“Some years can be a bit emotional,” Hiltner described. “ A few years back, we lost one of our sweetest, kindest, most generous friends and colleagues to breast cancer. Her husband donated her beautiful handbag collection to our team and we used them as a fundraiser. I was so excited to win one of her bags. It sounds silly, but it made me feel special to have it. It was a tough year, but the love and support we felt at Race for the Cure made us all feel stronger.”
Hiltner always looks forward to the hope and camaraderie of Race for the Cure each year with fellow NJEA members.
“To see everyone together on a Sunday morning drinking coffee, joking around and helping each other pin on their Race numbers always makes me so proud and thankful to be part of such an amazing team.”