Adding a little silver lining to the storm cloud that is 2017.

Every summer for the past few years, Meg and I have put our heads together to release a big update and improvement for the Safe Zone Project. This summer is no different: to celebrate our birthday, we’ve put together a lot of new stuff to gift to you.

As usual, we’re releasing a new version of our core 2-hour ready-to-rock curriculum. We’re also excited to announce a Safe Zone Project Internship Program, an online facilitator training initiative we’re calling S.T.A.R.L.A.B., plans for translations of our curriculum, and some improvements to the online resource.

Let’s get into these one-by-one.

Curriculum Version 4.0

There are three big changes to the new curriculum that previous facilitators of our curriculum will easily spot: overhauls to the genderbread activity, scenarios, and a brand spanking new handout. We’ve also substantially improved vocab (new terms, grammar, and more consistency in formatting), and tweaked little things throughout.

We’ve reframed the sample lecture from the genderbread activity to make it more personal for participants. A lot of educators have been using genderbread in this way for a long while, and in our train-the-trainers this past year we piloted it ourselves. Our findings: it seems easier for new facilitators to grasp, makes a meaningful connection for participants, and still gets similar learning objectives accomplished.

Something a lot of facilitators have asked is “What are the correct ways to handle the scenarios?” Our answer was generally “There is no one correct way to handle any scenario,” but we have finally given folks what they were really asking for: more guidance in what we would recommend. Each sample scenario in the facilitator guide now has bullets that facilitators can use to steer the conversation.

And the new handout is a response to another common request. After vocab, participants often express a concern that they’ll say the wrong thing. The new DO/DON’T SAY handout is our response to that request. We think it fits nicely into the curriculum, and it’s also a great handout all by itself.

Safe Zone Project Internship Program!

We get a lot of emails from people who want to help, many of whom are college students looking for skills to add to their tool belt, or experience to pad their resume.

The SZP Internship Program was designed to create an opportunity for up-and-coming LGBTQ+ equality advocates and educators to get insight into the field, and hands-on training, and invaluable experience to apply to their future endeavors.

We’ll have three internship terms throughout the year (Fall, Spring, and Summer), and have the capacity to support one intern during each term. The SZP Interns help with everyday operations, website and content improvements, outreach efforts, content development and upkeep, as well as complete a project of their own design, which is contributed to the Safe Zone Project, or the hues global justice collective.

All interns receive guidance and mentorship from Meg and I, t-shirts, books, and other swag from SZP and other hues initiatives, and access to a massive platform to meaningfully influence change and contribute to global justice.

Announcing: S.T.A.R.L.A.B. and Curriculum Translations

There are two things that we’re really excited about, and we’ll be working on over the next several months.

S.T.A.R.L.A.B. Online Safe Zone Trainer Academy

S.T.A.R.L.A.B. is something that we’ve been dreaming up for a couple years now. It’s designed for folks who want to facilitate Safe Zone trainings, but don’t have access to a training program, or facilitation mentorship in-person. Think of it as a self-guided, curated, and community-supported online train-the-trainer academy. Pretty cool, right? You can sign up for an email to get early access as soon as it’s ready.

Translating Our Curriculum into Spanish

And we’re seeking an English-to-Spanish translator who can help us make our curriculum more globally accessible. We’re starting with Spanish, and in need of someone who can help with both literal and cultural translation (making the examples, vocab, and facilitation guide more relevant for Spanish speakers in the Americas, specifically). If you are interested in helping with this, or know someone who is, please email us with a quote for translation: yo@thesafezoneproject.com.

And Some Assorted Website Improvements

We’ve created a new team page, a collection of all of our handouts, FAQs all over the place, and improved the curriculum download process. There were also a lot of other little bugs people have pointed out over the past year that I’ve been squishing relentlessly.

Over 20,000 people are now using our 2-hour curriculum, and there are over 10,000 of you beautiful people who use the site each month. If you keep using it, we’ll keep improving it.

That’s all for now, folks.