The school year has just ended and what a year it has been! Thanks to support from so many PFLAG NYC volunteers and supporters, we hit some major milestones with the Safe Schools Program.
Kalima McKenzie-Simms delivers professional training to parent coordinators in Brooklyn’s Community School District 13.
The Safe Schools Program reached 50% more schools this school year. In real numbers, that means we made 251 presentations reaching almost 8,000 students, parents, and teachers. We’re now helping change the climate for LGBTQ youth in more than 60 schools each year. This has a real impact on young people’s lives. As one teacher at a Harlem school told us, “We still face so much bias. You help us create a safe space by letting students hear real experiences and ask questions they’re uncomfortable talking about anywhere else.”
In May we embarked on a major new collaboration with the NYC Department of Education to train parent coordinators on working with families with LGBTQ kids and supporting family acceptance. In just two months, we trained the parent coordinators in 25% of community school districts citywide!
Realizing Our Dream
Anthony Kratunis talks with middle schoolers at Washington Heights Expeditionary Learning School.
It has long been our ambition to reach every school in the city with the powerful, instructive stories of families accepting and embracing their LGBTQ children. The kind of results we’ve delivered this year show us that it’s possible. Looking ahead to the new school year in September, we have a plan to reach 100% of parent coordinators with our training and we’re working on more than doubling our capacity to reach students directly.
So while students are enjoying a break over summer, it’s a busy time for PFLAG NYC as we get ready for a whole new year of milestones. We’re working on our lesson plans, recruiting new volunteer community speakers, training our teams, and so much more! Want to get involved? Read more about it and become a volunteer!
Beyond the Numbers, Real Impact
PFLAG NYC Executive Director Drew Tagliabue speaks with a classroom of students at Community Action School.
We talk about numbers of students reached and we want to keep that number growing, but it’s important to remember that behind every number is a real young person whose life experience will be changed for the better. When the numbers go up, even more schools will experience PFLAG NYC’s powerful presence and react like the Queens school superintendent who emailed us that the workshop we led was “undoubtedly one of the best learning sessions we have ever had!” And like the family services coordinator in Corona who told us, “Today was so unbelievable. We were all blown away by the stories you shared. Everyone needed this information.”
Imagine what this city will be like if we keep taking the Safe Schools Program into more schools. Imagine what the next generation will be like if so many of them, their parents, and their educators are exposed to affirming education on the diversity of their peers and their families.
By working with students directly and training parent coordinators and other school staff to support students and their families, we are changing the culture of the largest school system in America. We are making the schools and communities our children grow up in safe and inclusive.
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