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Safe Spaces

by Robert Scofield, Island High School Teacher

Adopt a Classroom recipientWhen Safe Spaces was adopted, I took it to the group to see what they felt would be a good use for the donation.  After lots of discussion, the students decided that they would like to use the money to address something that is a huge issue for the LGBTQ community, which is homelessness.  Unfortunately, many youth in the LGBTQ community are not accepted by their families when they choose to come out, so their homes are no longer a safe place for them.  Having experienced some of this opposition firsthand, our students were eager to help those struggling with a similar situation.  When I contacted Dreamcatcher Youth Services, they were enthusiastic about having our students come to volunteer.  Over the course of several meetings, students planned out a meal to prepare, as well as other ways to contribute such as creating “survival kits” with necessary toiletry items for homeless teens.  Ultimately we had 7 students from Island participate; cooking and serving food, putting together survival kits, as well as just hanging out and getting to know some of the teens and volunteers at the shelter.  Here are some of the reactions of the Island students who participated:

“It was a great experience to be a part of something greater, especially knowing that they are teens just like us.”  -Josh A.

“Dreamcatcher is a nice, comfortable, open-minded spot.  It’s great to see that people in need are being helped.” – Reverie S.

“Volunteering at Dreamcatcher was a really nice experience.  It made me feel so good to be doing something productive and getting to know the people there.  I’d love to go back!” – Taia B.

When we arrived, the staff at Dreamcatcher were extremely grateful for our generous donation of food and supplies.  As we were leaving, the staff once again expressed their gratitude, commenting on how well behaved and helpful our students were throughout the process.  I was extremely proud of the way our students positively represented Island High School and the Alameda Unified School District as a whole.  Overall, this was a great experience for everyone at Dreamcatcher, as well as an amazing opportunity for our students to give back and connect with the community.

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