“The big thing about KARE is the comradery,” President Gerald Young said. “Everybody wants to feel a part of something. For a long time, that was being part of the school, but now they are retired. KARE helps them to feel a part of something.”
As a local chapter of the Texas Retired Teachers Association, KARE offers events, meetings and volunteer opportunities for retirees to catch up with former colleagues and meet new ones, according to Young, who worked for 22 years at Katy ISD.
“If you visit with any of our members, you’ll learn they’re mentors at schools and read to students,” he said. “They’re still connected to the school.”
Karen Thornton said she agreed. The former president, historian and now head of the nominating committee said she and her KARE colleagues substitute teach and volunteer for the Katy ISD Education Foundation. A former physical education teacher, Thornton is also the historian for District IV Texas Retired Teachers Association.
“We never retire,” she said. “Teachers always want to give back.”
In 2018, the roughly 250 KARE members volunteered almost 40,000 hours and donated about 1,000 books, Thornton said. KARE also raised $22,600 over four years in scholarship money for graduating students who want to be educators, she added. Individual scholarships range from $750 to $1,200, Young said.
Another major part of KARE is lobbying at the Texas Capitol with other TRE chapters, Young and Thornton said.
“We look out for the interests of retired teachers by going to the Legislature,” Young said. “We work hard for cost of living [adjustments] and maintaining insurance.”
Both Young and Thornton said talking to local representatives and senators is among their favorite aspects of KARE.
“I really feel that we’re helping current teachers,” Thornton said. “We’re their advocators, protectors of their benefits and pension.”
Katy Area Retired Educators
281-344-8733 for membership inquires