It’s been a while since you’ve heard from us here at Project Respect! We’ve had a very busy winter and spring, and before I head off for a couple of weeks, I wanted to give you some updates!
Core Training in January
I had the amazing opportunity to help coordinate and facilitate Core Training this January, which is a part of the training for the Sexual Assault Response Team (SART) that VSAC runs. Alongside Sharde – who coordinates overall SART training, Alexa – VSAC’s ever-charismatic Trans Inclusion Coordinator, and Elicia – VSAC’s Prevention Manager, I got to spend time with over thirty committed VSAC SART volunteers, board members, and new staff, examining the root causes of sexualized violence and ways to undermine those roots in day-to-day life. Taking place over three days, we did a lot of great, deep work together. I learned so much both in terms of content as well as how to hold space for this type of learning to happen.
I am so very grateful for the folks who designed and facilitated this with me, as well as the participants who taught me so much in the processes. This is the forth year of Core Training, and we owe so much to those people over the years who have given so much to making it deeply radical and relevant programming. Thank you for this wonderful inheritance.
SHIFT intensive with a local high school
Instead of doing a 12-week program where two facilitators from Project Respect spend an hour or so a week with a group of students from a local middle school, this year we made some changes to our SHIFT programming. When the opportunity came up to do a four-day intensive with seven students from a local high school, I ran with it, and golly am I glad I did.
Alongside long-time educator Ambit Gender Diversity Consulting is so worth checking out and passing around!) and our Social Justice Studies workstudy student, Rachelle Bowen (who will be posting their own post here very soon!), we got to get into the nitty gritty of gender, sexuality, sexualized violence and consent with seven committed students over a week-long project break that their school has. Ages 17-19, the youth who attended brought deep commitments to helping their school be a place where consent is the norm. Working with them has been an excellent reminder for me about the ways that this work can really support youth who already know what types of changes they want to bring into this world, and just need a bit of support in doing so.
We’ll have more updates from them soon, as we continue to do ongoing programming with them and their school.
With all the workshop requests we’ve been getting, our auxiliary staff were on short supply and so we went through a hiring process this spring to welcome a new cohort of auxiliary educators to Project Respect. We welcomed 5 new excellent, experienced facilitators to the team, and after some intensive team-building and orientations, we jumped right away into doing the workshops that had been piling up.
After the rush, we brought the older and newer educators together for a retreat where we went over and assessed all of our key workshop tools, to ensure that everyone is comfortable with them, and to modify them according to feedback we’ve gotten from groups and facilitators alike to ensure that our workshops are keeping up with the times.
Ongoing Programming Development
In addition to always polishing our A-B workshops, we’re continuing to develop programming around cyber-violence and the ways sexualized violence plays out when virtual realms and real realms coincide. We will be doing some participatory youth program development in the fall to develop specific workshops on these themes.
More Updates Coming!
We’ve got excellent summer programming unfolding in the next couple of weeks, and are booking workshops into the fall. Be in touch with me (Kim) if you’d like to have us in your school, community group, or ad hoc group.