Published On: August 25th, 2021

Educators connect with nature and one another through Our Fire Collective.

At the close of the 2021 school year, one national study said one in four teachers was considering quitting, citing pandemic-era stressors: remote learning for teachers and students, technology glitches, and concerns about COVID-19 exposure.

And in our community, Our Fire Collective, a 2020 Imagined in Cambridge! Social Innovation Award winner, was there to help them.

This young organization has been offering healing retreats for K-12 educators who work in high-needs communities and struggle with second-hand trauma and burnout. Prior to the pandemic, creators Naqibah Al-Kaleem and Jesse Leavitt saw their teacher friends struggling, and developed overnight nature retreats for educators. With the pandemic the program evolved. It now offers a six-month-long series of fully outdoor, daytime retreats for educators, offering individual healing and the opportunity to develop deep connections together.

“Educators are so bogged down with schedules and the rigor of their work, they don’t have time for “extra” – but self-care shouldn’t be extra. If you keep giving, giving, giving, you have to have moments to heal as well. The  pandemic has allowed a lot of educators to say, ‘It’s part of sustaining our work to take care of ourselves,’” said Naqibah.

Thank you, Naqibah and Jesse, for giving local educators space where they’re appreciated, valued, and supported, and can refuel as they heed their calling to teach. And thanks to our teachers who give our kids the best possible chance even in the most challenging of times and all those working toward education justice. Help us find other impactful ideas for our community! Apply or nominate someone for our 2021 award through Sept. 13.