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Julianne Hough Joins $1 Million Campaign for Teacher Appreciation Month: ‘I Know How Hard They Work’

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Julianne Hough is giving a special shoutout to teachers nationwide.

Joining the #ThanksTeach campaign for the second consecutive year, the Dancing with the Stars judge could not be more thrilled to give teachers the credit they deserve.

“This campaign is just so important to me because I feel like I had so many incredible teachers growing up that really shaped me to become the person that I am today,” Hough, 28, exclusively tells PEOPLE. “They especially took the time out of their regular nine-to-five school hours — they basically went above and beyond to help me. I know there are so many teachers out there that do that for their students and really shape their lives as well.”

During the month-long social media campaign, Limeades for Learning, which has provided essential funds needed for learning materials and innovative teaching techniques to inspire creativity and learning in today’s youth, will make donations towards public school teacher projects for every post, share and retweet incorporating #ThanksTeach, for a total donation of $1 million — some of which Hough will help contribute.

“When I was thinking of my experience, outside of being home, your teachers are the people that you spend the most time with,” she says. “I think that just in general with social media and bullying and those sorts of things, you want to feel really safe with your teachers and be able to talk to them. Teachers can really shape somebody’s life.”

Hough adds: “I know friends that are teachers. I have people in my family that are teachers. I know how hard they work and how much responsibility is on them too. They need to be appreciated and have a little help.”