Back to High School: meeting the principal

I went back to my high school today, to meet with the principal and my co-facilitator on getting started with this year’s Pizza Klatch meetings.  Pizza Klatch is a local organization dedicated to supporting high school students of a queerish or questioning sexual identity, and their allies:

Pizza Klatch offers facilitated support for GLBTQ youth and their allies.  The support is offered during high school lunch periods, with free pizza, to provide a convenient and safe forum for the discussion of topics important to these youths.

I’ve been looking for a way to get involved with youth, especially at my alma mater, since I saw their GSA group in this year’s Pride Parade.  Now, after several months and a lot of email conversations and a few meetings, I’m looking forward to co-facilitating my first meeting on November 23rd.

I’m really excited about participating in the program.  I’m also a little nervous, and feeling lucky that I’m co-facilitating with someone who’s been with the program for a while.  I’m really hoping I can make a positive contribution, hoping that this will be as good for the kids as it will be for me.  One of the pay-offs for me is a chance to help make high school a better experience for these kids, and be a visible example of queer adulthood — something that was sorely lacking when I attended.  It’s not all fun and games and pizza, some of these kids are seriously hurting for adult support and the high school has already sent a couple of kids to get professional help because of cutting.  Cutting is on the rise, anxiety is high and every day it seems like there’s another report of some kid committing suicide over bullying.

I have no illusions that I can make all the bad stuff go away just by being there once a week.  All I can hope is to provide a reminder that it is possible to survive high school, that a person can live through bullying and become a healthy adult member of society.   I can’t do the work for them, I can’t get them through awkward moments with friends and family, I can’t be there when some jerk is taunting them or worse, but I hope I can show them what survival can look like.


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