MHS Experts and Students Participate in Local Diversity Event
As thought leaders in Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI), Milton Hershey School staff and students recently participated in a Hershey Area: All Things Diversity panel to discuss the importance of having adults speak with youth about race. MHS Special Assistant to the President for Diversity and Inclusion Fonati Abrokwa ’01 moderated the panel discussion and MHS experts and students offered their perspectives on the topic.
“The purpose of this local event was to provide guidance for attendees on how to engage youth in conversations about race and racism through empowerment, active listening, and support,” Abrokwa said.
MHS staff members Jonathan Small, Katherine Gibbs, Sharice Johnson, Michelle Weber, Heather Teter, and Jerome Pressley provided expertise as parents, educators, and role models to encourage ongoing open and honest conversations with youth to help them develop social awareness and empathy.
“MHS was able to bring the unique perspective of professionals that work in a diverse environment and staff that are also parents navigating the same topics,” Gibbs said.
MHS students Linden Gregory, Symyra Byrd, and Oluwashinaayomi Oladejo expressed their essential need for adults to start the conversation and listen without judgement.
“Although this is a heavy subject, our students truly displayed their strengths by sharing their experiences when providing tools, knowledge, and input,” Weber said.
This event, as well as many other opportunities this school year, has allowed MHS to take another step forward in working in conjunction with its students to empower their voices and learn together about DEI. As an extension of The Compass Project, MHS created Project Grow, providing students an opportunity for self-expression and collaboration during student voice forums.
“Encouraging youth voice practices in the classroom, at home, and in the community empowers young people to find a sense of belonging and ultimately, invest in their own development,” Johnson said.