In the fall of 2010, GLSEN embarked on a monumental campaign to provide every middle and high school in the country – 63,000 schools — with a GLSEN Safe Space Kit by the end of 2013. The Kit, which includes Safe Space stickers and posters and a 42-page guide to being an ally to LGBT students, empowers teachers to make a difference in the lives of LGBT youth.
Earlier this month, the last batch of Safe Space Kits began arriving at the remaining few hundred schools, meaning every secondary school in the country now has access to a resource that helps teachers make classrooms and hallways safer for LGBT students.
GLSEN could not have reached every secondary school in the country without the support of hundreds of corporate and community partners, GLSEN’s 38 chapters and many of you – from donating Kits to voting for us in the Pepsi Refresh Challenge and helping us win $250,000 toward the campaign.
Here are a few of the people and partners who helped us reach this goal:
- Eddie, a high school student and GSA leader in Portland, Oregon, purchased 12 Safe Space Kits out of his own pocket and hand-delivered them to schools in his area.
- Wells Fargo made a historic financial and volunteer investment in the campaign, allowing GLSEN to take the initiative to scale and achieve our ambitious goal.
- Deborah Gist, Rhode Island Commissioner of the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, wrote to educators in the state: “Ask yourself what you can do and begin by identifying yourself, your classroom and your office as safe spaces for LGBT students. It can change a life – and in some cases, save one.”
- Our GLSEN Phoenix chapter hosted district-wide trainings to maximize knowledge and impact of the Kits.
All told in the past three years, we’ve distributed close to 100,000 Kits (schools need more than just one) and 1 million Safe Space stickers.
But the completion of the Safe Space Campaign is just the beginning. We are committed to making sure every LGBT student can identify not just one but many supportive educators, which our research shows leads to higher grade point averages, greater educational aspirations and less fear-based absenteeism. That is something we all can support.