Last week, I had the good fortune to work directly with the PFLAG Dayton chapter (Kim, Jan, Dan, Nancy, Fred, Judy, Brian, Gary, Jillian) while also meeting members from our Akron, Alliance, Cincinnati, and Cleveland, Ohio chapters. In three short - or long, as they may have felt to some! - days we had a chance to train CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates) employees; present new projects to a local superintendent; film “A” rolls and “B” rolls for a documentary on creating safe schools; and train 15 more amazing PFLAG members on how to do safe schools work.
I was invited to come to Dayton by my friend and colleague, Kim Peters, who is also chair of the Dayton Safe Schools Committee, to test out the new training we are developing for a Safe Schools certification program. That training, which will be officially unveiling soon, includes a full day of role playing, exercises and communications skills workshops to help us open doors in schools and create safer environments for all students.
We had a fantastic group for our tryout, including new comers as well as seasoned pros who shared stories, ideas and experiences. We all learned from each other how to open up conversations with people in the school system. And we were also reminded that, while at times the problems can seem overwhelming, the fact remains that the work of committed and caring people can move mountains.
I also helped present a training for CASA volunteers, which included 2 local family court judges, to help them understand what the issues facing LGBTQ kids are and how they, as advocates, can help. Participants heard a moving, personal story they from the mother-daughter team of Kim and Jordan Peters, who talked about bridging the gap between good intentions and the real need to get involved now to address issues that students face.
It was wonderful to witness what happens when PFLAGers change hearts and minds!
Along for the ride througout my Ohio adventure was a Sun and Moon Productions. Their film crew was preparing a documentary, Youth Out Loud II, which looks at the next generation of safe schools work. I was honored to be part of their work and share the amazing PFLAG story about why creating safe schools is so important.
And, I have no doubt that when people see the work PFLAG does directly in the schools, they will be inspired to get involved in this important work, too.
And to all of those who worked so hard to make my Ohio trip a success, I say thank you! You do the incredible work of moving mountains, every day, and I couldn't be more proud to work alongside you.