An organization has awarded a $10,000 grant to Dutchess BOCES to support Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer (LGBTQ) youth. The grant will be used to help create a safe and welcoming environment and to fund a gay/straight alliance club.
The “It Gets Better” organization’s “50 States, 50 Grants” initiative awarded up to $10,000 to at least one school district in each state.
“We are excited for this grant and the opportunity it brings to work with new and diverse community partners and to demonstrate our commitment to providing a supportive, affirming, welcoming, and safe learning environment for all students,” said Nick Millas, principal of the Career and Technical Institute (CTI).
CTI teacher Erin Scott applied for the grant and was happy to hear Dutchess BOCES was chosen. Potsdam Senior High School and Rockland BOCES’ alternative high school were also selected in New York.
“This is wonderful. The money that we get will serve the entire community,” Scott said. “This will provide education, equity and diversity to everybody.”
The money will be used toward professional development for staff, community events and starting up a gay-straight alliance (GSA) chapter, which will benefit students from BOCES’ 13 component school districts.
Scott said she has heard from many students who are supportive of the LGBTQ community and BOCES’ efforts. “They seem very excited that this is coming to their school,” Scott said. “Our students come from all over the county and have different backgrounds across the board. We accept everybody; it doesn’t matter who you are, you’re welcome here.”