27 Apr Hope and SpeakUp!
On Wednesday, April 2, 2014, more than 100 students, parents/guardians and staff gathered at Hope Partnership for Education to SpeakUp!
SpeakUp! is an organization that travels to over 30 schools in the Greater Philadelphia area each year. The program’s mission is to enable youth to make positive life choices—and to teach their parents/guardians and educators how they can support them — as they navigate the journey to become happy, confident adults.
Since 2009, Hope has partnered with the Gesu School and LaSalle Academy, local Philadelphia elementary and middle schools, to bring together their 7th and 8th grade students to take part in a discussion on important issues facing young adolescents. Topics this year included Adult/Child Relationships, Decision Making and Self-Image.
Hope Partnership’s Principal Andrew Miller says he enjoys the SpeakUp! event because he loves what it teaches his students. “This event teaches my students how to be leaders,” said Miller. “It gives them a platform to express themselves. This helps them to develop strong communication skills.”
The committees are comprised of student ambassadors working with the SpeakUp! team to promote strong and positive leadership. Each of the breakout sessions are facilitated by professionals who create an interactive, non-lecturing forum for students, educators and parents/guardians to share honest thoughts, questions, concerns, etc.
SpeakUp! is held annually with three neighboring community schools. Each alternate hosting the event at their respective schools. The program was formed by Martie Gillin after the death of her son Robert Gillin, Jr. in 1992 who died of complications from the HIV virus. The initiative aimed to educate youth about the AIDS virus; however, Martie realized there was a bigger need after meeting with young people and discovering that many education and awareness was being hindered by their fear of being judged. This spawned a new mission of Martie to ensure that today’s youth had a platform to learn and communicate and their parents were provided tools to help foster this interaction. For more information on SpeakUp! please click here.