You’re probably thinking “Oh no! I didn’t get The Safe Zone Project a present.” Awkward. We know. But we were prepared.

Instead of expecting a gift from you, we decided to give you a bunch of cool stuff instead! If it’ll help, you can consider this one of those reverse-birthdays. You know. Those are a thing, right? (They aren’t?) I’m being told they aren’t. Okay. Well this is awkward now.

But we’re doing it anyhow: Happy Reverse-Birthday!

Two New Things, One Improved Thing

We’re now offering two brand new things that we got a lot of requests for throughout the past year. One is a resource helping facilitators get better at facilitation and the other is online safe zone trainings. You can read a bit more about each right below, or read our press release way below.

Presenting: The All-Star Facilitator Series

All-Star-Series-SZPImproving the quality and consistency of our safe zone curriculums around the country was one of our main goals when we launched this project. But the ultimate goal was to create better safe zone trainings. The logical next step toward that overarching goal, once we published our curriculum and activities, was helping facilitators do their thing, better.

That’s what we’re hoping to do with the All-Star Facilitator series. Like the rest of the Safe Zone Project, this will be a forever work in progress, but we launched with ten core lessons that will help any facilitator better accomplish the goals of a safe zone training. And we’re hoping our fellow social justice educators out there will submit lessons and help us as we build on the series in the future.

Presenting: Online Safe Zone Trainings

online-trainings-social-cardWhen possible, we always recommend in-person, intimate safe zone trainings. But, over the past year, we’ve come to terms with the fact that that is not always possible, and some training is always better than no training.

After doing a few pilot tests for online trainings using Google+ Hangouts last month, we were pleased with the results. To quote Meg, “It was much more like a normal training than I would have guessed.” We’ll now be offering online trainings on the second Saturday of every month, with registration on EventBrite (and scholarships available for folks for whom the cost is prohibitive).

Improving: Train-the-Trainer Program

For the past year, we offered the ability for folks to bring us in and have us train their group to facilitate their own safe zone trainings (call it the “teach a person to fish” method), but what, exactly, we were offering was unclear. Well, consider that cleared up.

Our goal with this project was to create a resource that stands on its own, and allows you to have everything you need to create safe zone trainings wherever you are, but we understand that some folks need extra help. We’re here to help.

The Press Release (for interested parties — copy/paste/reblog willy-nilly)

The Safe Zone Project Celebrates its One Year Anniversary

AUSTIN, Texas (August 5, 2014) – Last week marked the one year anniversary of the launch of The Safe Zone Project, a free online resource created by social justice advocates Meg Bolger and Sam Killermann to equip educators with the tools needed to start productive conversations amongst students and to create safe spaces for members of the LGBTQ community. In honor of the project’s first birthday, Bolger and Killermann are rolling out several exciting additions to The Safe Zone Project, including online safe zone trainings, an All-Star Facilitator Series, and their first train-the-trainer event, which will take place at San Jacinto College.

Since its launch, The Safe Zone Project website has provided a catalog of exercises and activities for anyone to use, but its premier offering is a comprehensive two hour workshop curriculum, a guide full of activities designed to help facilitators create dialogue and understanding amongst students who may not be familiar with LGBTQ issues. This curriculum has been used by over 1300 educators in 16 countries, and several thousand more have taken advantage of the individual activities on the website.

As part of the anniversary roll out, Bolger and Killermann will be facilitating online safe zone programs on the second Saturday of every month to intimate groups limited to eight participants, who are able to sign up for the courses through The Safe Zone Project website. They are also launching an All-Star Facilitator Series, starting as a ten lesson online program to help facilitators improve their skills in leading social justice workshops. Bolger says, “It was important for me that we build the all-star series, because it was the thing that I really wanted when I was a peer educator.” Lastly, the duo will be holding their first train-the-trainer event this August at San Jacinto College, where they will be conducting several in depth training sessions for members of the faculty and student body in order to prepare the participants to lead their own safe zone sessions.

Reflecting on their first year, Killermann says, “As I’ve been traveling the country, it’s been great hearing from folks all the different ways they’re using the project. I hope our updates will meet some needs we left unmet and inspire more educators to get involved.”

Meg Bolger is a gay/lesbian/queer-identified social justice educator facilitator who was drawn to social justice, gender and sexuality work through her experiences with creating a safe zone training program from scratch during her time as an undergraduate. She has since founded Pride for All, an organization dedicated to creating fun and interactive diversity and leadership workshops centered around the topics of gender, sexuality and social justice.

Sam Killermann is an ally, advocate, and social justice comedian, blending humor into much of the work he does. In addition to performing his one man show with a message, It’s Pronounced Metrosexual, for the past several years around the country, he is the author of A Guide to Gender, a full exploration of gender from a social justice perspective.

You can find out more from their website www.thesafezoneproject.com.