Today we feature Helaine Blum from City College Hollywood campus for International Women’s Month.
Blum came of age in the ’60s, a decade of change, and began her life of advocacy by marching: for Civil Rights, to end the Vietnam War, and later, for women’s rights. Her mother and her aunt were politically involved, so it wasn’t surprising that she would be too.
Blum got credentialed to teach high school but jobs were scarce at the time, so she took a job at an alternative school. It was her first experience in professional advocacy and she loved the fact that she was changing the lives of underprivileged students.
Blum moved to Florida to be near her parents and began the next phase of her life. Being a music addict, Blum said, “I always felt I was missing something.” She enrolled in the Broadcasting program at Piper High School and was on the air in 3 weeks. Shortly after, because of her teaching credentials, became the music director.
This experience launched her into her new career. Blum was part of Clarence Clemons’ management team. Clemons, who played saxophone in the E Street Band, which Bruce Springsteen reunited for a tour, and Helaine Blum went along.
After 12yrs, a friend suggested she teach at City College. Blum then taught broadcasting, and with her Psychology credentials, she quickly became Chair of General Education and Essentials.
Blum left City College to become a dean at another school, where she not only took care of the academic needs of the students, but she also created a food pantry.
After five years, Blum wanted to retire and go back to the classroom. City College “welcomed me back with open arms.” Here, too, she’s tried to teach students accountability along with critical thinking skills, “with a little tough love, and a lot of heart.” In total, she has taught 14 years at City College, and she continues to teach and tutor with just as much skill and compassion as she did when she first started teaching.
As Blum reflects on her inspiring life, she says, “I wanted two careers. One was teaching and one was music, and I accomplished them both.” May we all be as fortunate.