Monthly Archives: September 2013

PREVENT & PREVAIL TRAINING #3

Prevent & Prevail had a pretty information-dense session this week. Our trainers brought in all their expertise and our facilitators took in a lot of new knowledge along with a more in-depth understanding of information they were already familiar with.

First, Chloe presented information about birth control methods. We compared the different characteristics of different categories and kinds of birth control and talked about the strategic, economic and cultural factors that go into deciding which kinds of birth control will work for a particular person or couple. She also provided information about abortion, including research and statistics that helped create a better understanding of how those same factors influence decisions about abortion too. Over the course of both presentations, she made sure facilitators were also learning about skills for facilitating conversations about controversial topics and making everyone in the room feel heard and respected.

After Chloe, Jorge talked about STIs, STDs and HIV. He created a chart demonstrating known and possible risks for several of the most common STIs and how they can be contracted, then went into detail about the ways someone can (and cannot) contract HIV, and what the current medical picture for the diagnosis and treatment of HIV looks like. He led what can be an uncomfortable discussion with compassion and humor, and showed how charts like the one he used can help clarify information when there’s a lot to get through and a lot to take in.

Every week our facilitators become better-prepared to lead the discussions ahead for Prevent & Prevail. This coming Monday is our final training session before the official sessions start. Tune back in soon to hear about it, and get ready for the start of one of the programs we’re most excited about!

Dedicated to Make a Change’s mission is to connect youth with the world to promote peace, greater understanding and a love of learning. We provide an experiential learning environment to learn justice, diversity, poverty, and social responsibility.

DTMAC BIO: ALLISON MELCHER

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Meet Allison Melcher! Allison is the 17-year-old dynamo behind most of the blog posts here. She’s also a facilitator for Prevent & Prevail, and does a variety of other jobs for DTMAC depending on the week, the day and the hour. She’s been part of DTMAC for a long time, and attended two of the NOLA service trips. She attends Eastern Michigan University as part of the Early College Alliance. She’s also worked on a farm and at a library, and there’s really nothing she can’t handle.

Dedicated to Make a Change’s mission is to connect youth with the world to promote peace, greater understanding and a love of learning. We provide an experiential learning environment to learn justice, diversity, poverty, and social responsibility.

DTMAC BIO: CHLOÉ GURIN-SANDS

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Chloé Gurin-Sands has been coming in as a trainer for Prevent & Prevail and is a longtime friend and helper with DTMAC. She works at the University of Michigan’s Spectrum Center in support of the university’s TBLGQ community and lives her life as an all-around social justice advocate. She graduated from University of Michigan in 2011 with a degree in Spanish, Gender & Health, and Latino/a Studies.

Dedicated to Make a Change’s mission is to connect youth with the world to promote peace, greater understanding and a love of learning. We provide an experiential learning environment to learn justice, diversity, poverty, and social responsibility.

DTMAC BIO: FIONA CHAMNESS

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Hello DTMAC friends! In the coming weeks we’ll be adding more bios for other DTMAC staff members and affiliates, but I’ll start by introducing myself: I’m Fiona. I’ve been working for DTMAC since July. I create and edit much of our administrative writing and promotional material, including some (but not all) of these blog posts. I also assisted with HOPE Summer Program, am currently among the trainers for Prevent & Prevail, and assist with other tasks as they come up. I’ve lived in Ann Arbor most of my life, and I’ve returned to the city after graduating from Oberlin College in Ohio this past spring. I’m also a writer, poet, songwriter, nanny and bookworm, and I bake a mean loaf of bread. I love my work with DTMAC and I’m so happy to be a part of it. Stay tuned for more bios along with further updates about Prevent & Prevail!

Dedicated to Make a Change’s mission is to connect youth with the world to promote peace, greater understanding and a love of learning. We provide an experiential learning environment to learn justice, diversity, poverty, and social responsibility.

ROCK THE BLOCK

This past Saturday, September 14th, the Corner Health Center hosted its third annual block party in Ypsilanti. Dedicated to Make a Change had a table at the event along with the Ozone House, the Ypsilanti library, We Got Your Back, and the sheriff’s department. There was also music, food, airbrush tattoos, a photo booth, and games: all for free. Rock the Block was a fun way to get to know what organizations exist for youth in Ypsilanti.  Last year Dedicated to Make a Change worked with the Corner Health Center to provide peer to peer AIDS information sessions and we continue to work with the Corner Health Center as a way to become more involved with Ypsilanti.

Dedicated to Make a Change’s mission is to connect youth with the world to promote peace, greater understanding and a love of learning. We provide an experiential learning environment to learn justice, diversity, poverty, and social responsibility.

AN INVITATION FROM DEDICATION TO MAKE A CHANGE TO YOU

All youth, ages 13-18,

are invited to join Dedicated to Make a Change, L3C on our 8th Service Experience to New Orleans,  

April 6 – 13 or April 26 – May 6, 2014

The Lower 9th Ward of New Orleans was one of the hardest hit communities, from Hurricane Katrina in 2005. The storm displaced almost all of its residents. To this day, the community still has not been rebuilt and residents are still not in their homes. Our goal is simple; to change the hopeless attitude in the community to hopefulness.

For more information contact Gail by text or phone: 734 218 2953 or gail@dedicatedtomakeachange.com

To earn and receive the most financial help, sign up by November 15, 2013.

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PREVENT & PREVAIL, TRAINING #2

The second Prevent & Prevail training dove straight in to work on some of the most important skills our facilitators will be using during the Prevent & Prevail sessions. Learning to effectively facilitate group discussions is an involved process, and the youth facilitators at DTMAC care about doing it right. This week, they heard from Jim Toy, longtime activist, facilitator and leader in the Ann Arbor TBLGQ community.

Jim talked about the CLARA method of successful facilitation: Center, Listen, Affirm, Respond. He also led a discussion about what makes a good discussion and what makes a good facilitator – what questions to ask, how to manage group dynamics, how to handle difficult moments and controversial topics – based in his decades of experience hosting hard conversations about gender and sexuality.

After Jim spoke, Gail provided some crucial information about the ways in which participants’ past and present experiences of abuse, assault and other violence can affect the dynamic of any conversation about sexuality and sexual education, and shared strategies for supporting participants and creating a safer space for discussion.

Fiona then went on to hold a discussion about expressions of sexuality geared toward providing a broad, inclusive, affirming atmosphere in which participants can ask questions. She also gave some context on self-education among youth on sexual topics – where most young people are getting their information, what guidance they are and are not receiving, and what support they’re most likely to need in sorting through the information they find independently.

Next week, Gail and Chloe Gurin-Sands will go over important information about STDs, HIV prevention and sexual health. The further we get into our training sessions, the more our youth facilitators feel confident and well-prepared to serve as a resource for their peers. Keep checking in to hear what happens next!

Dedicated to Make a Change’s mission is to connect youth with the world to promote peace, greater understanding and a love of learning. We provide an experiential learning environment to learn justice, diversity, poverty, and social responsibility. 

PREVENT & PREVAIL, TRAINING #1

On Monday night, our youth facilitators had their first training session for Prevent & Prevail. For the next three Mondays, they’ll be meeting to talk, train and prepare for this fall’s Prevent & Prevail sessions. At Prevent & Prevail, they’ll be hosting discussions for other youth about HIV prevention and related topics, providing a safe and informed space for young people to get the resources they need to help curb the spread of HIV among adolescents and young adults.

The first training was full of laughs, good questions and moving testimony. Jorge Guzman began the training with a history lesson on the beginnings of HIV and the AIDS crisis, through the lens of his own work in the 1980s and 1990s with AIDS activist organizations in San Francisco. He spoke of the grassroots effort it took to support the first generation affected by the disease, of the difficulty of finding any support or help at all and the ways the community rallied when government and the medical establishment left sufferers behind. The work he and his friends and colleagues did in those days is nothing short of extraordinary, and it provided both context and inspiration to the work we hope to accomplish at Prevent & Prevail.

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Next, Fiona Chamness and Jennifer Pan gave a short presentation on the idea of the spectrum as it relates to sexuality and gender identity, and all the different ways we have of conceptualizing orientation, gender and attraction. The more you think about it, the more complicated it becomes, and the youth facilitators asked smart, challenging questions that helped further understanding and push the conversation forward. These are some of the hardest questions for youth to find informed, compassionate spaces to bring up, and we look forward to the discussions the facilitators will be able to host about them during Prevent & Prevail.

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Next week, we’ll be hearing from Jim Toy, one of the foremost TGLB activists in the Ann Arbor area, and talking about relationships and communication. We can’t wait to let you know what happens, and we can’t wait to see how Prevent & Prevail grows and expands this year. Talk to you soon!

Dedicated to Make a Change’s mission is to connect youth with the world to promote peace, greater understanding and a love of learning. We provide an experiential learning environment to learn justice, diversity, poverty, and social responsibility.