East English has its first Inclusion Club that welcomes a wide variety of students. Its founders are administrator Dora Hudson, a new staff member, and ELA teacher Jennifer Pierin.
“School should embrace students with disabilities and differences and help them gain acceptance at the school,” Pierin said.
Once a week, members meet in Pierin’s classroom, where they engage in discussions on various topics and support one another with school projects and concerns.
“Yes, the Inclusion Club is a great program here. It’s open to anyone, not just kids with disabilities,” said Hudson. “If someone who is having LGBT issues, they are definitely welcome.”
Sometimes I feel my school is a safe place for me; other times, I feel I will be targeted for being gay,” said sophomore Demaurie Foster.
“School is supposed to be safe for everybody, and I know other students who have their own stories about being discriminated against; so, the Inclusion Club is a place where we can talk through those issues and differences,” said Foster.
Other kids who find the Inclusion Club resourceful are students who have health issues or having problems at home or in school. Some members battle with low self-esteem, depression and loneliness. This club is about helping students who struggle to gain acceptance. It’s about supporting everyone regardless of their race, religion, sexual orientation or socio-economic status.
Pierin is working with club members to sponsor events, fundraisers, and school-wide activities. She is hoping EEVPA’s Inclusion Club will work collaboratively with other schools’ Inclusion Clubs.
“The Inclusion Club is a safe place for students who don’t feel they belong at the Ville. It embraces all those students who are unique,” said Hudson.