A teacher sitting on the floor holding a book, reading aloud to five students.

#TeachingBravely: Meet the brave teachers of AmazeWorks


AmazeWorks is extending our gratitude for brave teachers throughout the entire month of May with our #TeachingBravely campaign. Our goal is to raise $15,000 to support the unsung heroes who bring belonging to life every day, even when the odds are against them.

AmazeWorks equips teachers to have brave conversations about identity, difference, and bias in their classrooms. In the face of national book bans and restrictions on identity-based conversations, we’re dedicated to building our teachers’ capacities to be courageous—for their students and themselves.

To amplify the impact of your donation, we’ve secured a matching gift of $7,500. That means every dollar you give up to $7,500 will be doubled! Your support will go twice as far in empowering educators to create classroom cultures of belonging.

Monica Valbuena

2nd grade teacher, Emerson Dual Language School

At Emerson Dual Language School, students learn in English and Spanish. Here, Monica and her dog read, ¡Solo pregunta!: Sé Diferente, Sé Valiente, Sé Tú by Sonia Sotomayor – the Spanish edition of Just Ask! Be Different, Be Brave, Be You.

Monica has been teaching at Emerson for 13 years, but her journey in education started long before that. “I grew up in a family of educators: my mom, grandfather, and aunts,” she says. Inspired by the brave teachers in her life, Monica pursued a career where she could make positive and meaningful change.

Three years ago, she started using the AmazeWorks curriculum. She finds that social-emotional learning through storytelling helps her students establish deeper connections. Initially, students can feel hesitant to share about their personal lives, but Monica paves the way for brave conversations using AmazeWorks.

When students resonate with an AmazeWorks story, it becomes an outlet for them to share their own experiences. Monica learns more about their homes, families, and mental health, allowing her to provide stronger support for her students.

Andrea Munson

2nd grade teacher

Andrea recognizes that teachers are also learners. One of her favorite AmazeWorks books is Dreamers by Yuyi Morales, which provided her a valuable window into the lives of refugees.

These words from Andrea Munson remind us why #TeachingBravely is the heart of our work. Andrea is committed to bringing belonging to life for all children.

Andrea joined our community through the AmazeWorks Training Academy, a program that provides in-depth training, curriculum, and ongoing support to educators. Throughout her journey, she has learned that teaching bravely means cultivating a space where every child feels empowered to share their story. She encourages her students to lean into bravery by providing various creative outlets, including class discussions, journals, and engaging projects.

But teaching bravely isn’t limited to the classroom. In the face of national book bans and restrictions on conversations about race, gender, and other identities, teachers are facing new challenges. Andrea identifies intentional conversations with parents and caregivers as another form of bravery. She and other educators make time to talk with concerned caregivers, fostering a more holistic understanding of this crucial work.

Evelyn Stevenson

Middle School Teacher, Sojourner Truth Academy

Evelyn Stevenson posing with 14 of her middle schoolers and teaching assistant, Mr. R.
Evelyn Stevenson posing with 14 of her middle schoolers and teaching assistant, Mr. R.

Evelyn’s approach to teaching bravely involves leading by example. She connects her own life experiences to her lessons, helping students resonate with the material, build empathy, and respect differences. When Evelyn shares her story, her students feel that they can do the same.

By connecting their learning to the people in their lives, students become more open-minded. They share their identities and experiences, trusting that their classmates will respect these differences. Evelyn says using the AmazeWorks curriculum has led to deeper, more meaningful conversations in her classroom.

Her students also contribute to building a trusting environment. They established a guideline: what is shared in the classroom stays in the classroom. This rule has been crucial in creating a space where students feel comfortable sharing their personal stories.

She knows that brave conversations and vulnerability lead to transformative learning.

Support Brave Teachers

We believe in supporting brave educators like Monica, Andrea, and Evelyn, who bring belonging to life for their students every day. To continue this vital work, we need your help. Donate to AmazeWorks to help us reach our $15,000 goal by May 30. Remember, with a $7,500 matching grant, your donation will make twice the impact!

Elevate a brave teacher in your or your child’s life by donating in their honor. All honored teachers will be thanked in the 2024 AmazeWorks Annual Report. Give today to empower more educators to embrace bravery and create inclusive classrooms!

Together, we can make a lasting difference in the lives of students and teachers. Donate now to bring belonging to life. 🌟

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