Never done educating
When Johnson received her bachelor's degree in elementary education back in 1963, she didn’t foresee spending her retirement teaching young learners about blood and disasters.
Yet, that is what her volunteer days around her home base near Bigfork have brought her.
The talented and enthusiastic educator regularly dons her Red Cross volunteer vest and visits regional classrooms and community groups to teach some of the Red Cross’ most successful programs.
At the beginning of her career, she taught in Great Falls, Browning and Cut Bank, and after leaving the classroom, became the Glacier County superintendent of schools.
Johnson is a disaster response, blood drive and educational volunteer who is happy to share her time and tales of the subtle rewards she receives being back in the classroom.
“I just really like to be with the kids,” Johnson said.
She tells about one experience that embedded itself in her memory, and her heart.
While leading a presentation for a community group of young elementary students, she saw one boy sitting by himself, perhaps not understanding a complex topic about blood donation and disasters.
She remembers another young boy approaching the timid learner, and reaching out to say, “This isn’t going to hurt. It is going to be really great,” the student said.
“It was great for me because I got to see one child help another child,” Johnson added.
Johnson urges other working educators to incorporate the Pillowcase Project into their classrooms. Teachers can contact the Red Cross at 800-272-6668 to find out about scheduling a Pillowcase Project presentation.
— Story and photos by writing team volunteer Amy Joyner