Volunteer with the Safe Schools Program

The Safe Schools Program is always looking for dedicated volunteers who want to make a difference in the community, by teaching kids that it is okay to be exactly who they are. We need parents and family members of LGBTQ+ people who want to share their stories about how and why they accept their LGBTQ+ loved ones. We also want LGBTQ+ speakers who are willing to speak about a part of their own journey of self-acceptance, so that students in NYC can see that no matter how they identify, we all just want to be loved and respected. Many of the parents in the program share the same sentiment: “If only there was a program like this in effect when my child was in school.”

What We Look For in a Safe Schools Volunteer Speaker

  • LGBTQ+ people or their parents, friends and family members
  • A passion to help young people grow up as supported as possible
  • Good listening skills
  • A desire to share experiences to help students understand a positive perspective of the LGBTQ+ community

The Safe Schools Program is built on real authentic stories from different people in the community that the students can relate to. When we visit a school from the previous years, the students remember our volunteers and their stories as well.

The Stories

  • A mother of a gay son from the Bronx talks about how her son overcame his fear to come out when he was 14 years old. She describes how he dealt with bullies in his neighborhood, and how he became a successful dancer despite all of the obstacles he faced. “My son Henry grew up being taunted in public school. I didn’t know if there was anything I could do about it until I found PFLAG. Now I fight to make sure other children find the same support.”
  • A young trans man tells students about his first time feeling truly comfortable in his own skin during a talent show where he dressed up as a drag king. That moment in his life lead to him coming to terms with his gender identity.
  • A mother from Jersey City tells the story of her youngest son and his boyfriend being the first openly gay couple to go to his high school prom. “When Dylan and his date stepped on to the red carpet, looking drop dead gorgeous in their tuxedos, all of the parents applauded.”

Frequently Asked Questions

How does the Safe Schools Program work?

  1. The Safe Schools Program office schedules the visits with elementary through high schools in every borough in NYC.
  2. Volunteers sign up to speak at the schools that are convenient for them.
  3. Once in the classroom, a general introduction is given to about gender identity and sexual orientation.
  4. The heart of the event is when community speakers share their personal and family stories.
  5. The Safe Schools team leads a classroom conversation and address questions.

How often are volunteers needed?

The Safe Schools Program has events throughout the year. Our volunteer speakers go to as many as their schedule allows them to. Some can only attend one or two visits during a school year, and others go more frequently. Safe Schools visits range from 3-5 hours of time, and take place in public schools throughout New York City.

One 7th grade student in Manhattan wrote a letter to one of our speakers:

I think you were brave to come out and say you're gay and it didn't affect your friends and family that much. I'm glad you came to Wagner and gave this talk because it shows kids that gay people are just regular human beings and it is not bad to be gay.

Our volunteer speakers would agree that being in the classroom and being able to directly affect change is truly a rewarding experience. Fill out our volunteer inquiry form today!

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