Every year in the classrooms of Michigan City, the influence of teacher Barbara Carmen makes learning a little more memorable, makes teaching a little more satisfying. Barbara isn’t here to see – she passed away in 1992, at the age of 43.
But through the Barbara Carmen Memorial Fund, her legacy plays an active role in educating our youth.
“Barbara didn’t teach for the money,” said her husband John. “She was a dedicated and talented teacher.” Kindergarten was her favorite, and she always gave special attention to the struggling student. Barbara was an innovator, too. She embellished her curriculum with flavorful new twists, and the kids ate it up. Who else, for example, could get students to come to school on a weekend, to take a “Reading Cruise?”
John and the couple’s two daughters started the Fund just about the time Unity came into existence. It provides grants directly to elementary school teachers, for projects or programs that enhance normal classroom curriculum.
John chose a donor-advised fund as his way of staying involved with Barbara’s legacy. He solicits and reviews the applications, and even visits the classrooms. “I wouldn’t give it up,” he said.
John then discovered his personal support has made the programs more effective. It was extra credit, if you will. He said, “Some classrooms never have visitors. The kids love it, and it boosts teachers’ morale to see that the community cares.”