As part of the Center’s holistic approach to education and violence prevention strategies, special workshops are organized throughout the year for students, staff, and community members. Some of the workshops foster creativity, while others create an atmosphere for important discussions, providing a safe space to explore topics that are difficult to fit into mainstream classes.
Four recent workshops focused on designing educational bulletin boards, mask-making, self-defense, and relationship building. The mask-making workshop gave neighborhood children who visit the Center’s library the opportunity to learn a new craft. Scholarship students who research and design bulletin board displays for the Center attended a workshop to learn new content ideas and design skills. Youth violence-prevention promoters practiced self-defense techniques and discussed how to respond effectively to street harassment. All of the teachers at the Center were invited to participate in a four-session workshop to strengthen their awareness and practice of self-care and how to cultivate relationships inside and outside the classroom that are based on respect.
The students and teachers had only good things to say about their workshop learning and experiences:
“The guidelines we learned about creating bulletin boards give us tools to effectively draw people into the Center. I know these content and design skills will also help me in my school projects.”
—Karen Torres (17), scholarship student
Mask-Making Workshop:“We haven’t had many handicraft activities like this that are free and open to us kids. This is an opportunity to learn things we wouldn’t be able to otherwise. I want to learn so I can teach others.”
–Ashley Garcia (10), neighborhood Library visitor
“We had fun, but we also talked about important issues that we don’t usually cover in workshops here. I learned some techniques for self-defense, but I think that each case of violence or harassment requires a unique response. We need to talk about these issues more. We must teach boys not to give cat-calls and explain how women perceive them.”
—Genesis Lara (16), violence prevention promoter and member of the Center’s chorus, orchestra, and advanced dance group
“I’m finishing these workshops with a change of attitude, and with new ideas to put into practice. Above all, I recognize now that we should give ourselves the homework of valuing our rights. We need to pass that awareness on to our families and students so they can grow into responsible citizens in our society.”
“I’ve valued these sessions a lot, because I’ve learned skills to put into practice in my own life, work, and community. I’m sure they’re going to help me. Thank you for giving me love, affection, and care!”
“These four sessions have been worthwhile and dynamic. We have more tools now to work with in our personal lives, around us, and in our teaching.”
—Three teachers who participated in the workshop