Mazzoni Center Releases How to Build a FIERCE GSA Handbook - Generocity Philly

Nov. 5, 2014 11:30 am

Mazzoni Center Releases How to Build a FIERCE GSA Handbook

Last month, the Mazzoni Center, a health care provider in the Philadelphia region specifically targeting the unique health care needs of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender communities, released a new guidebook, How to Build a FIERCE GSA. The 22-page book is designed to be used by students, teachers, and others who want to form […]

Last month, the Mazzoni Center, a health care provider in the Philadelphia region specifically targeting the unique health care needs of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender communities, released a new guidebook, How to Build a FIERCE GSA.

The 22-page book is designed to be used by students, teachers, and others who want to form or strengthen a Gay/Queer-Straight Alliance (GSA/QSA) at their school.

“This guidebook includes useful tools on how to start a GSA/QSA, how to be an awesome adult advisor, how to create safer spaces that are welcoming to Trans* and gender non-conforming youth among other best practices that support the building of a FIERCE GSA,” said Louie Ortiz, Education Manager at Mazzoni Center, in an email.

The booklet, according to Ortiz, was inspired by a workshop that members of the Mazzoni’s Student Leadership Board (a youth run, youth led initiative that designs, creates and guides the mission and purpose of Mazzoni’s Ally Safe School program) developed for its annual youth conference LEAD in April 2014.

The Ally Program works with staff and students at Philadelphia schools and out-of-school time programs to help create safer, more welcoming, and more inclusive climates for LGBTQ youth. It also coordinates a network of more than 40 GSAs in schools throughout the Philadelphia region.

The workshop the board created was entitled “Building A FIERCE GSA,” with F.I.E.R.C.E. serving as an acronym for what the students felt were essential in forming a successful GSA: Fearless, Inclusive, Encourage Leadership, Recruitment, Community Building, and Execute Goals.

“The workshop was successful and we were soon flooded with phone calls requesting the workshop. The youth were then inspired to create a handbook that would be the perfect supplement for the workshop,” said Ortiz.

“It is our hope that FIERCE serves as an invitation to all LGBTQ youth and allies to be a part creating environments that are affirming and welcoming to all youth,” Ortiz added.

Copies of the handbook can be requested directly through Mazzoni’s Education Department at 215-563-0652. The book is also available for download at www.mazzonicenter.org/FIERCE.

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