Mrs. Edmonds: Dressing for a Cause

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Mrs. Jodi Edmonds and her daughter Zoee shared a hug and a common goal during Dressember. According to their website, “Dressember’s vision is a world without slavery where all people are free to live vibrant, autonomous lives.” (Photo courtesy of Jodi Edmonds).

Sarah Hale, Hills Happenings Editor

Jodi Edmonds has been a Special Education teacher at Warren Hills for 21 years, but her dedication to community doesn’t stop there.

It was not Edmonds’ original plan to become a Special Education educator. In fact, she was  planning on majoring in Elementary Education.

“The opportunity opened for students to receive a major in Special Education,” she said. “Prior to that, it was only a minor with a major in a subject area.”

Edmonds said she had many teachers who were influential to her as a teenager, and who she still thinks of to this day. It is her goal to be that kind of teacher for her students.

“I want to be the tough-love, positive influence they were for me. I love being able to be a positive [person] for someone that does not have that positive adult in their life,” she said.

Edmonds said she has to “wear many hats” while she is working, as each of her students is presented with a different challenge.

“Our day is not 7:30-2:30, it is 24 hours, seven days a week, 365 days a year,” she said, “but at the same time, it is fun.”

In addition to teaching, Edmonds has also fulfilled various supportive roles at Hills.  Over the years she has shown her school spirit as the staff Sunshine Club coordinator, Staff Picnic coordinator and even the Streaks’ Mascot.  This year, she is serving as assistant advisor of Student Council.

Outside of school, Edmonds does just as much to be a positive role model to her own kids. She and her daughter partook in the Dressember Fundraiser this past December.

Dressember is a month-long fundraiser in an effort to put an end to human trafficking. They are partnered with other organizations to intervene and care for survivors.

Edmonds said she first heard about their mission on a podcast in the car and was instantly intrigued.

“After hearing all she had to say about the organization, I thought it would be fun to challenge myself to participate in Dressember and see how much money I was able to raise,” she said.

Edmonds said she especially loves Dressember’s slogan.

“The dress is our uniform, the flag of our movement,” she said. “Dressember is an opportunity to reclaim and reappropriate the dress as a symbol of freedom and power; a flag for the inherent dignity of all people.

“Most people, when they hear human trafficking, they immediately think, sexual.  However, there are many forms of human trafficking and it impacts men, women, children and adults,” she said. “It’s very disturbing how it is right in our backyard. There are over 40 million people around the world in human trafficking.  It is a huge industry.”

Edmonds tried to get her husband to participate, “men wear a tie each day,” and while he did not, he supported his wife the entire month.

Edmonds’ favorite part of her experience, however, was sharing it with her daughter, Zoee.

“Sometimes we would shop in each other’s closet to change things up a bit,” she said. “She shared with her friends and teachers about Dressember and was able to raise money toward our goal.”

Edmonds recommends everyone give Dressember  a try.

“It is a fun way that a group can come together,” she said, “and have a fun challenge and raise money for a good cause.”