Early December was a wonderful time for our programs!
We were also thrilled to completing our first in-person high school facilitation of our Reducing Sexism and Violence Program (RSVPTM) since the pandemic. It was a huge success and a necessary connecting and growing opportunity for our team as well as for our participants at Scarborough High School. This marks our sixth year partnering with this community, and the impact that this work has generated with the young folks at the school is evident. We had 40+ folks thoroughly engaged in the material over the course of two days. Special shout out to our Youth Council and members of the Scarborough High School RSVPTM club!
The following week, our Youth Advisory Council hosted its long-awaited new members night at its new meeting space, Woodfords Congregational Church in Portland. Ten students from five different schools attended, including five new students. In the new year, the Youth Council hopes to reignite the Youth Take podcast; collaborate with “Man Up,” the musical; participate in the Maine Youth Court, and much more! We are grateful to Woodfords Church for the space that comfortably accommodates our growing, and enthusiastic, youth council.
We also received an update from Youth Advisory Council member Jason D’Amico about the RSVPTM club he has started at Union College; it is open to all genders and thoughtfully called “A More Equitable Union.” In just a few short months, Jason has gathered 10 people who come to the weekly meetings, and 10-20 visitors with varying background knowledge on these topics. So far, the club has met eight times and has focused on three main themes: restorative justice and Title IX; spiking at night clubs and on campus; and the sexual abuse scandal with the Chicago Black Hawks/sports culture on campus. The group is interested in planning events, bringing these conversations to fraternities, becoming involved in campus sexual assault prevention trainings, and more.
We were pleased to partner with SCORE of Southern Maine to host an event for members of the community to learn about the pathway of entrepreneurship. Ten people from the New Mainer community joined us in listening to two amazing community members discuss their experiences starting businesses as new Mainers. Dr. Maxwell Chikuta, founder and CEO of Veritas Care of Maine, Inc., as well as a grocery store and a cleaning business, and Patrick Kiruhura, founder of World Roots Culture Exchange and PK Funding, stirred the room with their inspiring stories of humility, perseverance, and courage.
We are also busy planning our Training Institute for mid-January. This training will inaugurate a new online space where attendees can find both the materials we share in the training and a forum where they can discuss what they’ve learned or questions they have as they present the curriculum themselves. We are excited to provide ongoing support and community and look forward to participants’ ideas of what will make it stronger.
In the new year, we are also looking forward to presenting RSVPTM at Mt. Ararat Middle School.