For years, Old Rochester Regional High School Nurse Kim Corazzini and Social Worker Kerri Dowdall have wanted to start a gay/lesbian support group at ORR. Now, with a $5,000 grant, the program will become a reality with a school-wide introductory presentation on February 25 to kick off the program.
“Some kids have expressed a very big need and a very big desire to be supported or give support over the past couple years,” said Corazzini. “We’re really excited to be able to offer them that.”
When she saw the opportunity to receive a grant from the Lipsky-Whittaker Foundation of Southeastern Massachusetts, said Corazzini, she thought this was the school’s chance at finally instituting a LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender) alliance with some real “depth.”
“The state has mandated support for LGBT students, so we’ve been able to gain momentum from that,” Corazzini said.
Part of the goal is to form a weekly LGBT support group for gay students and their supporters and eventually have the group represent ORR at statewide delegations and state LGBT programs.
“There’s a lot more that needs to be done, but this is the first step,” said Corazzini. “This is only the beginning.”
Back in December, a number of Tri-Town teachers and school staff attended a training session that served as the foundation for instituting a formal LGBT program at the school. The training received by staff and soon by students is geared toward fostering understanding and respect, while encouraging students to support their peers and speak out against discrimination and bullying.
“We’re looking to build some community support because we want this to be sustainable,” said Corazzini.
A parent information presentation will be held on Monday, February 23 at 6:00 pm so parents can learn more about the initiative.