Teachers sport mustaches for a cause

By: April Lehmbeck | Advertiser Times | Published November 18, 2013

HARPER WOODS — There are several teachers walking around the district with something a little different about themselves this month.

They may have never wanted a mustache before, but they’re growing them for a good cause and to create a bit of a bonding experience among staff.

It’s Movember, meaning men around the world are taking part in the mustache-growing campaign to raise awareness and funds for men’s health issues, like prostate and testicular cancer.

“Men don’t like to talk about health,” Harper Woods special education teacher Michael Jackson said. “They don’t go to the doctor’s. They don’t go to get their yearly checkups.”

Jackson, who has been taking part in Movember for the last four years, is new to the district and thought this would be a good way to build some camaraderie among staff.

He talked to a couple of teachers at first, and then some more teachers, about the possibility of getting together to take part in Movember.

“Mr. Jackson came up with the idea and is the driving force behind it, from getting everyone the information, to getting in contact with the bar we are going to for a fundraiser, to creating the T-shirt design,” teacher Jeremy Gabrielson said in an email. “I got involved because it’s a great cause that a lot of people do not really talk about, as well as the fact that I will take any excuse to grow a mustache.”

Jackson is a team captain to more than a dozen teachers taking part. They are an official team, The Pioneers, on the Movember website, raising money for the men’s health causes that the campaign supports.

“If you go on and you join, you can have a ‘Mo Space,’” Jackson said of the Movember website at us.movember.com.

“I’m trying to get guys to get checked up on their health,” Jackson said.

Besides supporting a good cause, Jackson thinks it’s something fun for the teachers to do.

“It’s kind of funny, guys growing mustaches that don’t usually have them,” he said, adding that it shows a bit of a sense of humor among staff.

Jackson had T-shirts created with a portion of the costs going to the Movember cause. They depict a pioneer, the school mascot, with a mustache that says “Movember” and the slogan “United we Mo.”

While women on the staff can’t participate by joining the mustache crowd, they can show their support by buying the T-shirts and donating money.

“Anybody can donate,” Jackson said of the website. “It’s pretty easy.”

People can donate by searching “The Pioneers” team name on the website.

They even planned a get-together with staff at Goodfellas Lounge last week where Goodfellas had agreed to donate 10 percent of purchases during part of the day to the team’s efforts.

Jackson hopes to make it an annual tradition among staff.

“I think it could just get bigger and bigger, if we do it,” he said.

He’s considering ways to get the students involved, too, like a dress-down day where the students can dress down if they donate a couple of dollars to the cause.

“The kids can remember doing it every year,” he said of making it an annual fundraising and awareness drive in the district.