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Messages of Support for CHHRE

This is a menu of the topics on this page (click on any): Angela Lewis-Williams    BJ Saul    Renee Kessler    Sharona Kay    Abbe Snyder    Daniela Whiteside    Anita Hoffer    Brigitta Mc Tigue    Jean-Claude Milhomme    Julie Mc Ginty    Lisa Hanser    Monica Friedman    Nancy Oko    Randi Schietz    Susan Caputo    Tony Freddoso    Ann Fonfa    Laurence Dailey    Ray Armstrong   .

The following are messages of public support that were received during the month of May while newspapers were reporting on the need to find new funding for The Center for Holocaust and Human Rights Education (CHHRE).

Angela Lewis-Williams

Angela Lewis-Williams
English Instructor/Reading Specialist
English Department
Lincoln Park Academy
1806  Avenue I
Fort Pierce, FL 34950-6099
Florida Council for the Social Studies
Board of Directors
District 14 Board Member

To Whom It May Concern:

It never ceases to amaze me that the programs that desperately need to be funded are the very ones that go under the chopping block FIRST!

Last summer, I attended a week long Holocaust Summer Institute at the FAU Jupiter campus. Although the topic was depressingly sad and horrific, I learned so much. As a result, my students and I started The Save Darfur Club on our campus. I was also able to teach my seniors more about the Holocaust than I had in the previous year. I felt like the expert one needs to be in order to disseminate the correct information to young minds on the Holocaust.  I received a plethora of information from that summer institute. Not only did I better myself as a lifelong learner but I was also able to speak and share with my students with much more ease and with more expertise  than I had the year prior.

I felt blessed to have had someone like Dr. Rose Gatens, whom I feel is the expert in her field, conducting last year's FAU Summer Institute. I met several Holocaust survivors in whose presence I was in awe. I would not have had that experience had it not been for funding to that particular program.

Let's all reassess the benefits of funding to programs that (1) help teachers to be better at the job they have to do; (2) offer a refresher course for teachers; (3) are provided to teachers at a minimal fee or no charge; and (4) have far-reaching effects for the students who will eventually be handed the baton to become caring and functioning citizens, even teachers, in the future. We definitely need to reassess cutting funding that truly benefits society in general.

Sincerely, Angela Lewis-Williams, a lifelong learner

BJ Saul

I want to let you know how I have benefited from the CHHRE program. I am a Speech-Language Pathologist at Whispering Pines Elementary who is very interested in the importance of Tolerance Awareness. I am the primary contact teacher for teachers of all grade levels who have questions regarding teaching Tolerance Awareness. I have also written grants for materials relating to teaching the Holocaust. I have gained invaluable knowledge by attending the summer institute teacher programs, traveling to the Holocaust Museums in D.C. and in Sarasota., borrowing Holocaust materials (movies and books) and most importantly scheduling Holocaust Survivors to come talk to the students. All of this has been through CHHRE.

Dr. Rose Gatens is indispensible as the director. I contact her on a regular basis for curriculum ideas that are appropriate for various grade levels and to borrow materials. Her knowledge has facilitated the teaching of the Holocaust at Whispering Pines.

On another level, I am the Director of Education at Congregation Beth Adam's Children's Education Program. Dr. Gatens's impact is not limited to the School District of Palm Beach County. She and this program have also impacted my Sunday School students. The CHHRE loans materials to my school and has scheduled Holocaust survivors to come speak to my students. Through CHHRE my Sunday School students have also become aware of the disturbing situation in Darfur and participated in several Save Darfur rallies.

Dr. Gatens and the FAU Center for Holocaust and Human Rights Education are indispensable and should never be in danger of closing. The lessons of the Holocaust and the importance of teaching Human Rights and tolerance should never be forgotten.

Sincerely, BJ Saul, Whispering Pines Elementary Director of Education, Congregation Beth Adam

Renee Kessler

I have used the Center many times. I’ve attended lectures and I went on the March of the Educators with Dr. Gatens several years ago. SHE IS BRILLIANT! Over the years I  have requested materials and support and I always know that the Center will be there for me. I invite a survivor to speak to my classes every year and rely on the Center for up to date information.  The impact the speakers have on students will be felt for the rest of their lives…. I read all the letters they send to the survivors, so I know.

In this time of hatred, in some parts of the world, it is crucial for the work of this Center to continue. EDUCATION IS OUR ONLY HOPE to change the future of our students and community.

Respectfully, Renee Kessler

Sharona Kay

My name is Sharona Kay and I appreciate the opportunity to support the Center for Holocaust and Human Rights Education. I teach a Holocaust elective at Boca Raton High School and I know my classes have been enriched greatly by the Holocaust Center in many ways.

First, the Holocaust Center routinely loans my class sets of books, or videos and DVDs. In the past, I have borrowed many times each year, and my students have found books like Night, The Other Victims, and I Never Saw Another Butterfly to be particularly meaningful. Because I can borrow these materials, instead of buying them for my students, I have the opportunity to read many different texts with my students, and to alter texts from year to year. In addition to books, I also borrow videos and DVDs from the Holocaust Center.

Of course, it is not always easy to know which are the best books or videos to show a class, but Rose Gatens is a source of unlimited knowledge and support. I have on many occassions e-mailed her a request for materials on a particular topic, and she sends me a variety of materials to read or watch so that I can chose the best for my students. I generally find it hard to choose because all the materials she sends are so interesting.

In addition to supplying materials, the Holocaust Center staff also arranges for speakers to come to our school. Just yesterday, the Holocaust Center sent Mr. Bachner, a survivor of Auschwitz, to speak to over 800 students at Boca Raton High School. I am not exaggerating when I say that the students were so engrossed in his speech that you could "hear a pin drop." Several students were so moved by his talk that they stayed through lunch to talk with him further. And I have already received several touching letters from students who want me to forward them to Mr. Bachner. They are truly beautiful letters and reading them leaves know doubt that a survivor's words can have a deep impact on our students today.

I cannot thank Rose Gatens enough for all her help throughout these past few years and I do hope the Holocaust Center will remain open for a very long time so that many teachers and students in addition to myself can better educate ourselves about the past in order to ensure a better future.

Thank you for this opportunity to express my gratitude,

Sharona Kay

Abbe Snyder

This Center has helped with my High School students in providing books, videos, and speakers. It has made a tremendous difference in the available materials to help teach our students.

Abbe Snyder

Daniela Whiteside

This Center is a huge help in teaching this sensitive subject to our students. I have been fortunate to use the materials often ranging from 3rd to 6th grade. The Center is an invaluable resource.

Sincerely, Daniela Whiteside

Anita Hoffer

I am a Holocaust survivor, who has been working with the Center for at least ten years.
I was so appalled at the the thought it may close that I went to temple after temple giving out the email addresses of the politicians , who I thought may be able to  help save the Center...everywhere I went , also at my Club , everyone begged for the addresses so they could help, too.
Many also said they would send donations.
It is so gratifying to know that all the effort proved worthwhile.
Anita Hoffer, President Kindertransport of Florida

Brigitta Mc Tigue

I am a Library Media Specialist at Park Vista High School in Boynton Beach. I also sponsor a Multicultural Club and host activities that promote respect for students of all cultures on campus. The Center for Holocaust and Human Rights Education has been helpful in providing materials that educate students on the importance of accepting people who are different from themselves. The Center has also given a workshop on cultural sensitivity for the teachers at Park Vista High. I know that there is a successful collaboration between the CHHRE and the Holocaust Studies Division of the Department of Multicultural Education, School District of Palm Beach County. This collaboration has enabled all schools to receive audiovisual materials on the Civil Rights Movement and the Holocaust, and made available a variety of speakers, programs, and other educational materials. The CHHRE provides an invaluable service to the young people of Palm Beach County, making a difference in the attitudes that they will carry with them for the rest of their lives. Please establish the endowment needed for the Center to carry on its critical work.

Sincerely, Brigitta McTigue, Media Specialist Park Vista High School

Jean-Claude Milhomme

CHHRE is the bridge connecting the past and the present as far as Holocaust studies are concerned.  I am eternally indebted to CHHRE for brightening my horizon and that of others. When you educate one you impact thousands.

Julie Mc Ginty

I am delighted to hear that the Center will stay open to serve our community.  I feel strongly that standing together to confront human rights abuses and to never forget the horror that happens when we don't is essential.  The idea of a permanent foundation to insure the continuation of the Center is excellent.

Sincerely, Julie McGinty-Mathews

Lisa Hanser

I am a social studies teacher at Bak Middle School of the Arts in Palm Beach County.  For years I have used the invaluable services of the Holocaust Education Center at FAU.  I have borrowed tapes, books, and posters.  I have had speakers come to my school and talk to my students about their experiences during the Holocaust.  It would have been much harder to teach this state-mandated curriculum without the Center’s materials and teacher training. 

It would be a disaster to cut the funding at FAU if the state legislature requires Holocaust education to be taught in every grade in the school system.  We are fortunate to have the Center to help our teachers.  Don’t destroy a good source for the teachers and the children of Palm Beach County.

Dr. Rose Gatens has worked so hard to educate teachers so that they in turn can educate the students on the impact of intolerance. It is not just that these things happened in the past. We must educate the students on how to deal with all kinds of intolerance in society because the problem has not disappeared.

Lisa Hanser

Monica Friedman

For the past five years I have benefited from the help and support I have received from The Center for Holocaust and Human Rights Education. My Advanced Placement Spanish students and I at Spanish River Community High School are very grateful for the work that the Center provides us. Every year we are able to borrow Holocaust related books in Spanish, as well as to receive the visit of a Holocaust survivor who addresses our students in Spanish. Last year my students were really fortunate to have visited the Holocaust Memorial in Miami Beach with you and a survivor. My students were so moved by the teachings of the Holocaust, that they all felt the need to help Darfur.

I was fortunate to have participated twice on The March of the Educators, in 2003 & 2005, organized by the Center for Holocaust and Human Rights Education and The Department of Multicultural Education at The School District of Palm Beach County. Going to Poland and visiting the Concentration and Death Camps was the most meaningful history lesson I have ever had.

Lastly I participated three times on the Center's Summer Institutes for K-12 teachers, and honestly I can not imagine teaching The Holocaust without the Center's support.

Sincerely, Monica H. Friedmann Ph.D.

Nancy Oko

I support the great work done by the Center. As a teacher teaching the Holocaust and Genocide in the classroom, the work and help we get from the Center is enormous. We can not do it alone and the lessons learned must be taught so that “Never Again” becomes a reality.

Nancy J. Oko
Reading Department
Boynton Beach High School
Palm Beach County Schools

Randi Schietz

Palm Beach County schools have a resource that compares to no other.  Because of the extensive lending library, materials can be borrowed and reach children throughout the county.  Schools do not have the money to buy class sets of books or expensive videos.  Also, the speaker’s bureau is such a valuable service to invite Holocaust survivors to schools.  The speakers they send are trained and experienced in telling their testimony in schools.  The Summer Institute and other trainings offered throughout the year to teachers is something that every teacher should experience and ensures that teachers have the background knowledge and skills to teach this sensitive topic.

It would be a tremendous loss to all if the Center were not available to schools.

Randi Schietz, Guidance Counselor
Binks Forest Elementary
Former Holocaust Studies Resource Teacher – Palm Beach County Schools

Susan Caputo

I have participated in many Holocaust studies including the week long course at FAU.  I have received materials that have enhanced my teaching lessons along with visuals.  My students have benefited greatly from all these materials.  Please continue to enrich our understanding and to bring up speakers.  We must remind ourselves that we must never forget. Holocaust studies need to be taught.  History does repeat itself     Susan Caputo Woodlands Middle School.

I have used the Holocaust studies program many times.  It is essential that the program be funded and that the doors stay open. Teachers need to be educated to teach this and having the vital information that FAU and its library bring to the classroom is vital.  History need to be told accurately.

Tony Freddoso

For the past five years, Holocaust Survivors have been coming to our school (Murray Middle School, Stuart FL) to speak to our 8th grade classes about their experiences as survivors during WWII.  Hundreds of student lives have been touched and changed by the words that pour forth from the mouths of these wonderful men and women.  Their message of remembrance and tolerance in our society of intolerance, is just what these young adults need and desire to hear.  This has all been made possible through the work and efforts of the CHHRE.  It was through my contacting them at FAU that I was able to secure the names of our current survivor visitors. 

I cannot begin to tell you what an impact their visitations have had on our 8th grade students, the faculty and visiting student parents.  We are entering a time in society where violence, intolerance and bullying are a normal part of our daily lives on school campuses.  Cutting the funding for CHHRE would only propagate the current trend of intolerance in society.  The world needs to have an opportunity to heal itself and the only possible solution is to start with our youth.  The more the message of tolerance is preached, the better our chances.  I can think of no better venue than listening to messages of forgiveness and tolerance from those whose rights have been extremely violated.

Tony Freddoso
Reading Dept. Head
Murray Middle School
Stuart, FL 34997

Ann Fonfa

I just returned from a trip to Germany
I had occasion to travel to Munich and Berlin.  People were immensely friendly as I walked around as a tourist in between my meetings.
I visited the Jewish Museum in Munich while a high school class from Italy was receiving a guided tour.  I could hear the tour guide speaking about Jews and it was clear they/we were so 'odd' and 'unsual'  to their listeners and to her.  A historical footnote, an oddity.
Coming from the US, New York City in particular, and now in South Florida, I have always felt like a part of my surroundings.  There, although everyone was of good will, Jews were clearly outsiders.
In Berlin, I visited the Holocaust Memorial - a truly impressive square block, and from there to the New Synagogue (built in the 1800's).
I was more Jewish in Germany than I am in the USA. 
I also want to say that unfortunately war and the TORTURE of human beings has been taken up by my own country to our everlasting SHAME.

Ann E. Fonfa, Health Advocate and Political Activist

Laurence Dailey

I will do anything I can to foster understanding and tolerance in our Career Ed program. Presenting students - who prepare to enter the world of work- with notions and discussions of the Holocaust leads to their understanding of positive, proactive tolerance, one that recognizes the innate, absolute common humanity of all people, and their natural and civil rights under any nation's law. Keep in touch. Bud

Ray Armstrong

I would like to state my support for State (and other) funding for the Holocaust and Human Rights Center. As a psychologist, I think it is imperative that our society sustain those institutions which inform and inspire its members to value and appreciate human dignity and worth. We live in a world full of economic and emotional uncertainty, the seeds from which fear and entitlement have grown in our not-so-distant past. The Center affords us the opportunity to remind ourselves, and teach our children, of the inherent worth of every human being. If we are to be sure not to repeat past grievous errors, and if we are to hope for a future of peace and mutual support, institutions such as this must be supported by all of us.

                                                                             Ray Armstrong, Ph.D.

, Miami, FL

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