Supporters and friends of Safe School South Florida (SSSF) are looking to “Kaleidoscope” to honor community leaders renowned for their work in improving the safety, health, and academic success of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer/questioning (LGBTQ+) students in South Florida.
SSSF recognizes three pioneers of LGBTQ+ youth and student support at the 2019 “Kaleidoscope,” the non-profit’s largest annual fundraiser on Sept. 21, 6-9 p.m., at the historic Coral Gables Congregational Church, 3010 De Soto Boulevard, in Coral Gables, directly across from the Miami Biltmore Hotel & Resort.
At the event, SSSF will honor Dr. Marilyn Volker (left above), who established South Florida’s first LGBTQ youth support group in 1981; and longtime Miami-Dade County Public School Board Members (center) Betsy Kaplan (posthumously) and (right) Janet McAliley, who both helped create the first LGBTQ+ “protective” public school board policy in the Southeast United States, in 1993.
As the event theme implies, the work of this organization and its supporters is as complex and varied as the community of young people it serves, says SSSF Board President Marty McGuire, “like a complex pattern of constantly changing colors, patterns, and shapes presented through a Kaleidoscope.”
The event will include hors d’oeuvres, beer and wine, and a silent auction. Funds raised will support SSSF’s programs, including the organization’s annual student leadership trainings; diversity conferences; educator trainings for teachers, counselors, administrators, and staff to best prevent and intervene in bullying LGBTQ+ students, real or perceived, as well as the bullying of any students.
Funds also go to support SSSF’s SpeakOUT Speakers Bureau that helps educate parents/guardians, students, educators, and the community in general about the diverse lives of LGBTQ+ people.
Through its 28 years of service, SSSF has trained over 15,000 educators who positively affected the daily lives of over 1.5 million students. Additionally, the organization’s numerous events have brought together more than 8,000 LGBTQ+ students and allies from schools all across South Florida.
Safe Schools South Florida is the only organization in South Florida solely comprised of education professionals committed to training other education professionals, school staff, youth service provider agencies, parents/guardians, and families and communities to create safer schools and communities where all students can learn and thrive.
For information about Kaleidoscope, including how to become a sponsor and to purchase tickets, visit www.safeschoolssouthflorida.org.