A group of students at 37ECB recently shared stories and inspiration as well as tea and crumpets at an enrichment event at the school.
Organizers picked the tea and crumpets theme because they wanted to do something unusual that would make the girls feel special.
"This stuff is so important to know," one of the participating students said. "It makes you believe in yourself."
The event was a collaboration between the San Diego County Office of Education's Juvenile Court and Community Schools (JCCS), which operates the San Diego school, and the National College Resources Foundation, as part of its The Movement enrichment program.
"The theme behind our event was that no matter your circumstance you are worth something, you have value, and your circumstance does not define who or what you are," said Charlean Parker, program area coordinator with the National College Resources Foundation.
To explore that theme, organizers placed nametags throughout the room with "I am" and a variety of different inspirational adjectives.
"We wanted the girls to know they are beautiful, educated, dynamic, and artistic, just to name a few," Parker said.
The guest speaker at the event, Elizabeth Gray, had a particularly big impact on the students as she was once a JCCS student herself before taking a job with The Movement. Brown had never spoken to students at an event, but connected with them through their similar circumstances.
"The event was wonderful," said Gretchen Rhoads, site administrator at the school. "I noticed young women making connections who have never connected before."
This was the first time JCCS and The Movement have worked together on an event. There are already plans to hold similar events at other schools, and students at 37ECB are asking when they'll be able to do it again.
Enrichment events like this one are an important way to help students build connections not only with their school but also with their community, said San Diego County Superintendent of Schools Dr. Paul Gothold and County Board of Education President Guadalupe González.