FEF to Honor Betsy and Joe Doud at Winter Gala, March 3
Betsy and Joe Doud (Photo courtesy Lee Geishecker)
VIEW EVENT PHOTOS HERE Although Betsy and Joe Doud didn’t know anyone when they moved to Falmouth in 2002, they knew they wanted to spend their retirement years giving back. That dedication will be celebrated at Falmouth Education Foundation’s Winter Gala at the Coonamessett Inn on March 3, 2018. “Betsy and Joe deeply believe in the importance of enriching the community for all, and they have lived that belief through their careers and in their retirement,” said FEF President Ellen Barol. “FEF is one of many organizations benefiting from the Douds’ kindness and dedication, and we are very glad they agreed to be our 2018 honorees.”
The Douds initially became involved in the local community by joining the Falmouth Newcomers Club. Betsy, a lifelong educator, led trips through the group’s Lunch and Learn program to cultural institutions all over Cape Cod and Boston. Prior to the Douds’ move to Falmouth, they lived briefly in Florida, where they volunteered in a large soup kitchen. A desire to continue those efforts brought Betsy to the Falmouth Service Center, where she signed up to be a volunteer during her first visit, and eventually began teaching a budget management course for clients seeking financial assistance.
“Once a teacher, always a teacher, I suppose," she said. "My work at the Service Center dovetailed with my work at FEF. Although there is a large economic disparity in our culture, I strongly believe that gap can be reduced by a great education. Every child deserves that."
Empowering youngsters through education has been a lifelong passion for Mrs. Doud, who spent 20 years teaching English at an alternative high school in suburban Chicago.
Former FEF board chair Margaret Hough Russell, who at the time served on the Service Center board, encouraged Mrs. Doud to offer her time to the recently formed educational nonprofit. FEF’s mission to support outside-the-box teaching initiatives that were not funded within the school budget resonated with Mrs. Doud, who witnessed in her own career the effectiveness of unique teaching methods coupled with traditional classroom learning. She joined FEF and eventually became board chair.
“The school where I taught offered a full high school curriculum at night. Most of our students came from a struggling academic background and had been asked to leave high school under duress, although many of them ended up pursuing a college degree. It was a wonderful teaching experience for me,” she said.
As a single mother raising two children, Mrs. Doud hadn’t entered a classroom for 20 years when she applied for the position, but before long, she was incorporating museum trips and other experiential learning to her syllabus in an effort to encourage new interests and potential career paths for her students.
“Many of these young people had never been to an art gallery before, so I would bring them to an evening exhibit where they would immerse themselves in the work and write a poem about it. The goal was to take them out of the classroom and into the world and combine it with an academic experience, which is exactly what FEF is doing,” she said.
Joe Doud also discovered the importance of providing a variety of opportunities for young people to enhance education through his role as director of parks and recreation in his native Iowa, and later when he oversaw the nationally-recognized Northbrook Park District in Illinois.
“We focused on things beyond sports and athletics. We offered dance programs, community theater, trips to Chicago for museums and plays. I saw firsthand the value of allowing kids to spread their wings in relation to gaining knowledge,” Mr. Doud said.
In addition to supporting his wife’s volunteer commitments in Falmouth, he has worked for the past decade in the Falmouth Hospital ER, where he registers triage patients on Mondays, attempting to ease their anxiety and offer comfort. He is also a member of a men’s networking group that meets each month at Talk of the Town Diner in North Falmouth. Mr. Doud became emotional when reflecting on his wife’s work with FEF over the past 12 years.
“I’m so proud of Betsy. She’s extremely dedicated, and everything she has ever done has produced a result,” he said.
Mrs. Doud expressed her pride for how far FEF has come; last spring, the organization awarded more than $107,000 in grants for the 2018-2018 school year, its largest amount ever.
“I’m grateful to live in a community that supports FEF’s efforts and where we have teachers who are willing to take the time to pursue these grants,” she said. “Because of FEF, we’re able to help level the economic playing field so that every child in Falmouth has the same opportunities.”
FEF’s Winter Gala at the Coonamessett Inn, which regularly sells out, will feature dinner and dancing, as well as many exciting auction items. The March 3 event will begin with cocktails at 6 P.M. Tickets are $75, and can be purchased by calling Meghan Buckley at 774-763-2347.