On Thursday, October 22, the Dana Hall School Peer Education student leadership group participated in a gender and orientation training led by YES Institute. YES Institute's mission is to prevent suicide and ensure the healthy development of all youth through powerful communication and education on gender and orientation. The guest speakers Umut, Dani and Seth used an intersectional approach to examine how aspects of our identities interplay with our understanding of gender, orientation, race/ethnicity and ability. They also weaved in their personal narrative throughout the training to engage the students in meaningful and thought-provoking conversations.
“The YES Institute presentation was one of the best presentations we have been to," Peer Ed Co-Head S. Lagarde '21 said. "We were encouraged to be actively involved, ask questions and listen to the thoughtful conversations of our peers. We really enjoyed the broader perspective that was brought by not only talking about gender identity, but the everyday gender stereotypes (such as body image) that we see in our everyday life."
"Beyond the discussion we had, we were taught real world applications on how to make substantial change," Peer Ed Co-Head Z. Szeman '21 said. "As co-heads, we have many new ideas for educating the younger students and are incredibly excited to implement them in the classroom.”
Every month leading up to January, the Peer Educators engage in monthly workshops dedicated to preparing them to teach in grades 5 through 9 during weekly Forum class until Spring Break. In addition, all Forum facilitators participated in the YES Institute gender and orientation training on Monday, October 26, and Thursday, November 5, so they can lead gender identity lessons in their Forum classes.
For anyone seeking further support around gender and orientation, please reach out to the Dana Hall School Health Center and school counselors. Some additional resources are listed below:
"My favorite Dana Hall memory would be the first time I ever sang the Alma Mater with my fellow classmates. That was most definitely the first time I felt like I was truly a part of something. Joining hands with my future Silver Sisters made me truly feel like I was a Dana girl."