Thursday and Friday of this past week we went on the Junior Class retreat. We take our class into the city, stay at a hostel, eat pot-luck, and work on social justice issues. Along the way we try to learn a little bit about each other and begin to appreciate the “others” that are both those folks out there that we don’t know and the folks in here that we don’t know. This is generally a nice group of kids and I think that over all, the trip was successful.
Pregnancy – Planning and Coping
We went to Planned Parenthood of Illinois to learn about their mission (85% of their work is as a provider of reproductive [and sometime the only] health care for women) and to help them get ready for their big benefit on Friday. We made buttons and alphabetized name tags. Thursday night the girls presented to the class the work they have been doing on raising awareness of advertising and the distortion/objectification of women’s bodies in the media. I don’t think they were prepared for the reaction they received, but they were ready to defend their beliefs that we ARE affected by advertising and that turning women into objects makes it easier to hit us/discriminate against us/ ignore us. It was great practice for when they share their work with the full middle and upper school later this month.
Friday – Coping
On Friday we were guests at a meeting of the Illinois Subsequent Pregnancy Project. We learned about them at a Chapin Hall forum on the real cost of teen pregnancy. Our students felt that they were the only panelists who were really concerned about the real life SOCIAL costs of teen pregnancy. The phrases of the morning were “Meet them where they are,” and “Be willing to walk it out with them;” both phrases look at treating each young parent as a unique individual and being ready to go the full distance with that young parent to help them. An amazing group of people, I must say.
Friday night we put on our party dresses and volunteered at the Planned Parenthood gala benefit. The young women were amazing, and one even managed to catch our senior senator from Illinois on his way out of the benefit and get photo with our group. Snap!
I learned a lot about the young women in our group. I also learned a valuable lesson for me – that is: I can say no, and I can let others take of care of some things. Corrolary – if certain non-essential things don’t happen, then I do not have to feel responsible. Also, I hate playing games (board games, card games, etc) and that is just fine.
Chicago Hostel photo by flickr member jetzenpolis