It’s true! It never IS “too early to talk to kids about differences, diversity and equity.” Equity Kids started our first “Littles” group, and with several weeks under our belt, the 4- and 5-year-old participants are bonding with each other, talking about skin colors, and learning to identify characteristics and identities of themselves and their playmates. One of the books we’ve read is “All Are Welcome” by Alexandra Penfold and Suzanne Kaufman available here.
Meet our new Program Director, Emily Ledesma. Emily came to Equity Kids with a substantial background in child development, counseling, and non-profit work. As our Program Director, she’ll focus on building Equity Kids’ presence in the community and partnering with schools and groups seeking resources and services around diversity issues. Emily served on Equity Kids’ Board of Directors, and you can read more about the talent and experience she brings to us here on our website.
“Alumni” of Equity Kids – the participants in Equity Kids’ original group from 2021 – reunited recently to connect with one another and with our initial facilitators, board members Pat Clark and Sarah Bagwell. The kids (now almost two years older than when they last saw each other) had a chance to catch up on what’s going on with each other, recall lessons and topics covered when they were attending Equity Kids and share how they engage around difficult conversations today. One said the reunion helped, “it made me feel more supported and also like I should just be who I want to be without worrying about what other people think. I felt I was seen as a good and kind person — which isn’t the way I’m often seen at school.” The kids agreed they want to meet quarterly to continue to provide each other with an ongoing safe space where they can talk, outside of a school setting, about issues like bullying, what’s “normal,” being Albino, and other questions that arise.
Speaking of safe space, even during something as simple as a check-in where Equity Kids participants share their “sunshine” and “clouds,” significant issues come up. In a recent session with middle schoolers, kids laid out concerns they had over a mom being stalked, an ongoing health problem, and years-long separation from a parent. Our facilitators were able to provide support and validate their feelings and experiences. Just as our Program Director said, “leaning on each other is more important now than ever before.”
That’s a bit of what’s going on in the Equity Kids World these days; we wanted to give you a glimpse and, as always, pass on our gratitude for your engagement and ongoing support!
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