MEET RAINEY COFFMAN: as a teacher, she had a heart to make a difference and see her passions collide while teaching students to care for others.
What led you to want to make a difference for the Baddour Center?
The Baddour Center has been a part of my heart ever since my husband, Cory, took me there to visit. My husband has been working there for 15 years, and I have gotten the chance to build relationships with these residents over the years. Seeing Cory’s passion for these individuals, inspired me to help make a difference for The Baddour Center.
This center is a non-profit organization and relies strictly on donations and tuition. With the center being less than 20 miles away, I wanted to bring awareness to students as well as the community about the opportunities that this place has to offer to people with special needs.
After high school, students usually go to college or begin to work. Students with special needs need a place to go after high school that offers opportunity to grow independently. The Baddour Center provides adults with many opportunities to grow vocationally, spiritually, creatively, and independently. Putting together this 5K fun run and fundraiser involves students with the community and helps spread the word about this wonderful place.
Why do you think it’s important to teach children about serving and loving others?
It is so imperative to teach children at a young age about serving and loving others. It is even more imperative to show them that serving others who are different than them is very important. After educating our students about The Baddour Center, students begin to realize that people with special needs are more like them than different! Having this mindset and empathy at a young age will hopefully continue into their adulthood.
What challenges did you face while working to put on this event, and how did you overcome them?
One of the first challenges that I faced while putting together a 5K fun run and fundraiser for the school was that I have never done it before, but I learned A LOT! I reached out to several people and asked lots and lots of questions!
The other challenge I had was trying to do everything myself! So many people stepped in and helped me without even asking, and I am so very grateful! It truly takes a team to make this happen and without them, this event wouldn’t have been as successful!
What do you hope your students at your school learned through this process?
I hope that our students learned empathy towards people with special needs. When students began to interact with the residents they realized that they are more alike than different. I hope that students learn that it is important to give back to local charities and to love and serve others always especially those with special needs. This event brought awareness to the need for programs for adults with special needs and gives families and individuals hope for their future.
What advice do you have for others teachers who want to serve and make a difference in the classroom and beyond?
My advice for other teachers who want to serve and make a difference in the classroom and beyond is to get a team together of people who want to help make a difference with you. Having that support is important.
Also, keep pursuing something, even though you think it will be too hard. I had no idea what I was doing with organizing a race or fundraiser, but I asked lots of questions and collaborated with lots of people who have experience. If you keep the idea in your head that you are making a difference and helping people’s lives, it will be so worth it!