Elderly Black man gets vaccinated

Greg Winston taught in San Diego Unified School District for more than 30 years. In his retirement, he became a dedicated tutor, honoring himself, his family, and his students by getting vaccinated through the VEBA Vaccinates program.

“I feel it’s important for me to be immune against the virus. I am somewhat suspicious of the vaccination, the virus. I have mixed feelings about it. But I’m erring on the side of caution, since I don’t have enough knowledge to really dispute it.”

The VEBA Vaccinates program rolled out in late February following the County of San Diego and the San Diego County Office of Education guidelines, first serving all educators in the most at-risk neighborhoods.

The VEBA Resource Center (VRC) is dedicated to equalizing healthcare access. Its programs are free and open to all VEBA Members and their families. From healthy cooking classes to yoga and meditation, the VRC virtual classes strive to meet the unique needs of individual members. This holistic approach is very important to Mr. Winston.

“I think there’s a positive where people will be able to go back to school. I think people will get back to work again. But I also think that we have to look at the lessons that are learned. And we have to look at the value of what we’re teaching. We have to look at the value of the food that we’re providing for the people. We have to look at the conditions under which people are living.”

The VEBA Vaccinates program, in partnership with UC San Diego Health and Sharp HealthCare, provided access for all TK-12 education employees working in San Diego County district, charter, and private schools to schedule their appointment and receive their vaccination. For Mr. Winston, that means finally being able to reunite with the kids he loves to teach.

“I look forward to interacting with the kids again. And I think there are lifelong lessons that I’ve learned from those kids. And there are certain things that I never realized 30 years ago, when I started teaching, that I’m well aware of now, and I see the fruits of my labor. So now I’m more motivated to go back and still give that.”

Mr. Winston emphasized that he is also in a unique position to make a connection and meet a need, especially for students of color.

“I think there are a lot of kids that look for role models, mentors, look for assistance. And unfortunately, in our school system, when it comes to black males, there’s not a lot. So sometimes there’s a void that’s not being filled there… I retired from the school system. But I didn’t retire from kids.”