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C.A.R.E Club gives students chance to speak about stigmatized issues

LGBTQ%2B+is+one+of+the+many+topics+C.A.R.E+discusses.
LGBTQ+ is one of the many topics C.A.R.E discusses.

LGBTQ+ is one of the many topics C.A.R.E discusses.

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LGBTQ+ is one of the many topics C.A.R.E discusses.

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Community Acceptance and Respect for Everyone (C.A.R.E) club meets every other Monday and allows for students to get together and talk about stigmatized topics.

“The students set the vision for the group,” sponsor Abby Gillan said. “Of course sponsors, myself and (Erin) Deenihan, and then administration just kind of oversees what the students do. The vision for the group really is a place for students to explore their uniqueness and to create a culture of respect and to make people feel valued for what is unique about them.”

Sponsor Erin Deenihan said the meetings are a time to talk about social issues and marginalized groups.

“The whole idea of acceptance and respect for everyone is just celebrating peoples differences and then talking about the different issues that go along with some of these different groups,” Deenihan said. “LGBQ+ issues, gender identity, racial issues, different religion and disabilities are some of the topics that we discuss.”

This is the second year the club has been in existence. Gillan was originally asked to sponsor by a group of students and later asked Deenihan to help out.

“Ms. Deenihan is a younger teacher, a newer teacher and just from some other things that we’ve worked together on, I really enjoy working with her,” Gillan said. “She just likes to be involved, so part of it was I knew she’d say yes and also it’s just another way to get a younger teacher involved in the things that we do here, so I thought I would bring her along for a ride.”

Gillan said introducing the club to administration was a little challenging because the topics the students want to do are so wide ranging. Bringing the club back this year was simpler because they already went through the process the first year.

“I think it’s great,” Deenihan said. “To have a group that just celebrates people and is about bringing groups of people together, absolutely yes. Young people getting to talk about difficult issues, that maybe in a community like ours don’t necessarily get brought up, we don’t have the most diverse population necessarily, but bringing those kinds of people together and actually discussing things like this, and learning about different issues. You know the biggest things about unacceptance or hate, that’s just ignorance, so the fact that we are learning about different topics and researching on that, I think that’s wonderful.”

Deenihan said there are generally eight to 10 people who show up from meeting to meeting, but they’re always looking for more people to join.

“I think the most interesting thing about this club is that it’s really student driven,” Gillan said. We give them a little advice and guidance but the students pick the topics, they do research over the topics. Just seeing young people care about these bigger issues and discuss them and want to talk about things that maybe don’t get highlighted or really talked about in the school community as often. And their desire to give students a place to feel their uniqueness is valued or different things about them outside of school or extracurriculars are valued. So I think that’s really a cool thing, and I’ve been impressed by our student leaders.”

21abraun@usd489.com

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About the Writer
Addie Braun, Staff Reporter

Addie Braun is a sophomore who enjoys traveling and eating pancakes.

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C.A.R.E Club gives students chance to speak about stigmatized issues