July 2023 Update from Pollyanna
July 2023
The July newsletter message was written by members of our Teen Council.
Dear Friend,
Pollyanna Teen Council wants to say "thank you" to everyone who joined us in conversation this year! It was such an honor to listen and learn from amazing guests who took time out of their lives to educate us and others around the country about topics ranging from inclusivity in schools to banned books to promoting free speech and equality.
The Teen Council leadership is made up of six teens located in cities from the West to East Coast, who meet frequently to prepare for our guest interviews and discussion questions. The question we consistently conclude our interviews with is, “What three pieces of advice do you have for us?” The results have varied, but some specific answers stuck out to us the most. 
• In Charles Vogl's insightful exploration of the important role of community building, he offered the notion of taking mentorship and your networks of people seriously. Find a role model, an inspiration, somebody who you can admire and look up to. Search for the people who can reach out a hand and provide you with the advice you need to keep going and make your dreams possible. Vogl also provided us with the advice to “be brave.” Embarking on a journey of taking risks is neither simple nor straightforward. Yet the potential outcome of venturing beyond the confines of your comfort zone has the power to transform profoundly your life.
• Ali Michael’s interview about Young Leaders and Advocates Making a Difference concluded with her guidance to pursue what you love. Ali stressed the importance of engaging with what brings you energy and motivation. Her optimism illuminated the idea that discovering your true passion and seeking out opportunities aligned with it can pave a distinct and powerful path for your personal and professional growth.
• Jason Craige Harris, in our topic Religious and Spiritual Diversity in Schools, shared the advice that “Who you are is a gift.”  He shared a valuable lesson: the pursuit of "fitting in" and how it often results in sacrificing our individuality. Recognizing and embracing our inherent uniqueness is an innate gift. By wholeheartedly embracing our authenticity, we possess the ability to contribute something truly remarkable to the world by openly sharing our life experiences.  
What makes Pollyanna Teen Council special?
  • PTC is for students 13 to 18-years old.
  • The Council is run by our Teen Leaders, who carefully plan and run each Zoom meet-up.
  • Each meet-up begins with a special guest interview.
  • Monthly meet-ups are free and commitment to each one is not required.  
  • An adult from Pollyanna is always present.
We look forward to next year's meet-ups with a special group of guests and new topics such as cultural appropriation vs. appreciation, affinity groups, gender fluidity, and mental health. We hope to see you there! And, if you have a topic you’d like to see us host next year or you’d like to be involved with the Council, please fill out this short form.
Ava, Marcus + Emerson
on behalf of Cameron, Destynée and Josie
Pollyanna Teen Council Leaders

In the News

Melissa Mirza: Careers
In our first Zoom workshop, facilitator Melissa Mirza creates space for educators who identify as people of color to do some deep reflection on their next career move. Participants will map out what they want, how to get there, articulate their superpowers, and more!   
Tuesday, August 1, 1-2 PM ET / 10 AM-11 AM PT 
Jan Abernathy: Communications 
Whether we are talking about "the work," using new-ish terminology to define gender, or simply identifying affinity groups, communications professionals are constantly being asked to normalize new language. Jan Abernathy, Chief Communications Officer at the Browning School, will show participants how to confidently frame, speak and write to the importance of DEIB and SEL initiatives.

Wednesday, August 9, 1-2 PM ET / 10 AM-11 AM PT  Learn more and register here

Jaqueline Nelson + Jay Golon
Join Jay Golon and Jacqueline Nelson, Pollyanna facilitators, teachers, and administrators with over 20 years of experience in independent schools, as they guide you through practical exercises and reflective discussions aimed at helping participants develop an “individualized engagement plan” for relationship building and community belonging. 
This workshop takes place over two days with two 2-hour sessions. August 15 and 16, 2023, 12-2 PM ET /
Jason Craige Harris: Restorative Practice
Join educator, facilitator, mediator, and restorative justice practitioner Jason Craige Harris for, “Toward Accountability and Repair: On Navigating Race, Harm, and Shame.” In this workshop participants will learn the basic tenets of restorative practice, fresh ways of thinking about harm and repair, strategies for addressing “little” harms that threaten to escalate, and interventions for navigating complex harms. 
Thursday, August 3, 1-3 PM ET / 10 AM-12 PM PT
David Smith: Advancement
Join David Smith, Director of Advancement at Saint Ann’s School, to learn how to create a more inclusive advancement program, build greater connections between DEIB and advancement, and elevate the cultural competency of your advancement team and operation. 
Thursday, August 10, 1-2 PM ET / 10 AM-11 AM PT 
Pollyanna Giving Circles
As we look to the rest of 2023 and beyond, we are excited to announce our Pollyanna Giving Circles. With these new giving levels, we are offering incredible benefits that will deepen your connection to our mission. As you consider your annual gift this year, we hope you will be inspired by one of these opportunities to help us continue to increase the impact of our programming.
Reach Out if We Can Be of Help with Your DEIB Planning
Pollyanna advances systemic change by developing stronger communities.
Pollyanna works with academic and other institutions to achieve their diversity, equity and inclusion goals. Through its unique conference models, discussion platforms, and racial literacy curricula, Pollyanna increases cultural competence.
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