Athens High School: We have proposed starting a Men of Strength Club that would meet during the school’s Academic Coaching period. The MoSt Club is an evidence-based curriculum created by an organization in Washington DC titled Men Can Stop Rape. We provided this curriculum for review along with all of our other materials in February 2015 and hired an AHS alumni, Richard Grippa, to run it. We are waiting to hear back from the administration on its approval.
In the meantime, we are serving Athens City Schools’ girls with two after-school programs: Youth Against Misogyny and Sexism and Athens Rock Camp for Girls. Youth Against Misogyny and Sexism (YAMS) is a student-led initiative started in October of 2014 by a group of AHS women. It is open to students of all genders from all Athens County School Districts. YAMS works to end misogyny and sexism in our area schools through holding community events and workshops that influence cultural norms and address outdated school policies such as dress codes that sexualize female bodies. YAMS has met with Dr. Gibbs twice regarding the creation of a gender-neutral dress code and other issues related to curriculum content.
Athens Rock Camp for Girls was approached by campers as well as staff from Arts West after this past summer’s camp and encouraged to start an after-school program. Athens Rock Camp for Girls After School Program was started in August of 2015 and is held at Arts West each Monday from 3:30 to 5:30. It is open to girls and gender non-conforming and trans individuals ages 10-18. We are currently working to support the formation of one band as well as music lessons for several girls not yet in bands and there is still room for more. This part of our programming is not currently funded and is being run largely by volunteers. You can make a donation earmarked for this program to APJN by writing “Girls Rock Camp” in the memo.
Trimble High School: The 2015-2016 school year marks the third year that People’s Justice League, formerly Hollaback Appalachian Ohio!, has enjoyed a pleasant relationship with THS Health Teacher, Phil Campbell. We developed a four-lesson curriculum utilizing all three of our presenter’s unique specialties. Sarah Fick works with the class in a mixed gender setting around street harassment, its function in rape culture, reduction of victim blaming and bystander intervention. On two of our four days, the class is split. The girls go to the gym to study assertive communication and physical self defense while the boys stay in the classroom with our new Healthy Masculinity Instructor, Richard Grippa, to discuss consent, flirting without harassing, and supporting survivors as well as how the media influences masculinity.
After last year’s workshops, we felt a little disheartened by the internalized sexism that seemed to be evident in many of the girls we worked with. Also noting that many of the women that we work with at SEORJail hail from this area, we recommitted ourselves to putting special effort to finding new in-roads in Trimble, a community with high rates of poverty as well as high rates of parental incarceration, addiction, and drug related deaths, but had little luck. After this year’s workshops, we were reinvigorated, hearing of student activism around a school dress code that sexualizes female bodies. We told our students at Trimble about YAMS and discussed plans to either provide transportation to incorporate Trimble youth into our current YAMS group or start something similar in Trimble.