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Unit Spotlight: St. Bernard Parish RTA

When local Units give back to their communities, we have a win-win scenario. The community benefits from the service of the Unit, and community activities are a great way for Units to promote their work to potential members. The St. Bernard Parish Retired Teachers Association leverages their community projects as another way to recruit members for their local Unit.

According to St. Bernard Parish RTA President Paul Grethel, their local Unit engages in several community service projects including school supply drives, scholarships and volunteering at local schools. “The school supply drive takes place all throughout the year and members bring donations of school supplies to one of our four regular meetings where we collect them,” Paul explains.

Each year, St. Bernard Parish RTA picks an elementary school in St. Bernard parish to donate the collected items. They also pay the local school a visit. Paul says the local Unit focuses on elementary schools since those students are in the formative years of their educational journey.

In 2023, St. Bernard Parish RTA donated over $1,200 in school supplies and $200 in sporting equipment to J.F. Gauthier Elementary School. “We want to provide them what they need to flourish,” Paul says.

Pictured: Members of St. Bernard Parish RTA and students of J.F. Gauthier Elementary School with the donated supplies.

Visiting with the school for the donation drop off was a great way for retirees to connect with the active teachers and personnel. St. Bernard Parish RTA used part of their time at the school to distribute membership brochures to faculty and staff. They even included a brochure holder with a sign saying, “Gauthier Hurricanes make the Best Retirees.” “We change that sign and put the name of the school and mascot for each school we visit,” Paul says. “It’s just another way to recruit members.”

The school supply donation was a great “in” for St. Bernard Parish RTA to meet with the elementary school and their staff. Some Units have found making regular visits to their local schools and leaving brochures or other materials can be great member recruitment activities. Remember, active teachers may join LRTA as associate members for $12 a year.

Giving back to the community goes beyond membership recruitment. These are individuals who once sat in your classrooms, learned to read their first words with you and gained life lessons and experiences that they use today. Once a teacher, always a teacher; retired teachers never stopped caring for their students beyond the classroom.

“We have this (school supply drive) an easy way for our over 200-unit members to give something back.”

The St. Bernard Parish RTA meets meets in March, June, September and December each year.

For more information about St. Bernard Parish RTA, contact Mr. Paul Grethel at (504) 301-7194. You can also reach Paul at for any additional information. St. Bernard Parish RTA is also on Facebook. Click here to join the group.

Interested in joining your local Unit? Click here to find a retired educator community near you.