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. 

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