Celebrate Justice!

“I do believe there are gender and ethnic stereotypes that propel people to assumptions about what they expected me to be,” these words from Sonia Sotomayor, our newest Supreme Court Justice, encapsulate the reasons for Chrysalis After-School. Girls need to overcome those assumptions and women need to challenge them!

So many articles have been written about how she has overcome her origins. But I wonder if those origins have actually helped her become the person she is.Certainly the injections required to survive juvenile diabetes taught her discipline. Her childhood in a Bronx home raised by her widowed Latina mother, taught her independence and gave her strength.

The Perry Mason television show inspired her to become a judge; she realized the judge was the most important person in the courtroom. That’s what she wanted to be. Patience and determination to survive law school, the prosecutor’s office and the federal approval process are certainly traits that any woman must learn to break the invisible barriers to achievement that still exist.

Create Meaningful Advisory Structures

Providing opportunities for making choices and speaking out are critical components of positive youth development programs. But it’s challenging to do this with a large group of kids who may want to go in 30 different directions. Here are ideas from a gallery activity at the 2008 Chrysalis After-School Facilitator Training for creating meaningful advisory structures with young people–

  • Rotate teams
  • Form committees & facilitate meetings with adults
  • Let everyone who wants to advise be involved
  • Facilitate activities that work toward group goals and objectives
  • Vary groups across grade levels
  • Provide consistency

See Polk County Conservation Surveys

This program evaluation measures progress of clients toward goals of–

  • deeper respect and connection with nature
  • sharing knowledge and experience with others
  • becoming greener in their behaviors around energy and the environment.

Patrice Petersen-Keys, the other naturalists at Polk County Conservation and I have worked on this during the last couple years, here are links to surveys–

and links to the results