The Gender-Sexuality Alliance Club (GSA) plans to sell hot drinks in the Lion Lobby through Friday, Feb. 10, to raise money for The Trevor Project.
The sale has run every Friday through Valentine’s Day, leading up to the club’s “Safe Love Week” which promotes safe and healthy relationships, said social studies teacher and GSA advisor Dr. Scott King-Owen.
Junior Jae Douglas, a member of GSA, said the club chose to donate to The Trevor Project because of their various programs dedicated to helping LGBTQIA+ children.
“There are kids who experience discrimination and hate within their own family,” he said. “The Trevor Project offers food, clothing, shelter and extra funding to help them out. We hope to raise as much as we can while keeping drink prices relatively low.”
Dr. King-Owen said The Trevor Project is meaningful to people because they offer 24-hour support to LGBTQIA+ teens who feel unsafe in their environments.
“A young LGBTQIA+ person experiencing thoughts of self-harm can reach out at any time to a trained person who can support them,” he said.
Douglas said he hopes to spark people’s curiosity about The Trevor Project and start researching their mission.
“Addressing different biases, whether they be implicit or explicit, starts in the mind,” he said. “We want people to see what they do and look into how to help.”
Dr. King-Owen said the club chose hot drinks because it was seasonally appropriate and more likely to attract customers.
“We were thinking about the timing,” he explained. “Being winter in Ohio, it’s cold and gray, so everybody likes having something warm to drink.”
He added that all drinks were donated by members of GSA, along with himself.
Douglas said he hopes this event will spread positivity throughout the school.
“Hopefully we’ll be able to expand the love to people who maybe don’t feel it as much,” he said. “I think it’ll be a really cool experience and something for people to bond over.”
Junior and GSA event planner Natalie Winland explained that for every drink purchased, a raffle ticket will be entered toward a self-care-themed basket.
“We’ll draw a name at the end of our sale, and we hope that draws more people in,” she said. “We were running into issues with this because it’s technically gambling, so this takes away that uncertainty.”
Dr. King-Owen added that the club overcame other challenges along the way, such as getting members to help with the preparation.
He said the club felt they were too ambitious with last year’s events; instead they decided to do one sale a week to keep the workload manageable. Additionally, the club will need to find a way to donate their earnings, he said.
“We have to figure out a way to do that with our school treasurer so that we respect best practices in accounting for public schools,” he explained.
Winland said the club also ran into issues while trying to find a space and time to hold the sale, but chose the Lion Lobby after school because many people walk through the area.
King-Owen said he hopes the sales will bring awareness to the issues LGBTQIA+ children are facing.
“When you have your identity called into question by a proposed law in your state, that makes your day look different than someone who doesn’t have to worry about whether or not medical care is going to be banned for them,” he said. “Rates of self-harm have skyrocketed because of the harmful actions of legislators and others across the United States.”
Dr. King-Owen said this was the first time GSA has worked with a charity because the club wanted time to reorganize after the pandemic when membership dropped and meetings were less frequent.
However, he added GSA would like to partner with local organizations with similar missions to continue giving back each year.
Winland said there are multiple benefits she hopes to see come out of the sale.
“I hope that something resonates with people in finding self love,” she said. “I hope it’s a good reminder that everyone matters and to try to find little pockets of peace.”
Douglas added that he hopes the sale will help students recognize GSA as a safe place for them to go.
“The club is for anyone who wants to have a community,” he said. “We want to turn our school into something that is more open.”
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