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School Social Worker
Claire Lilienthal (K-8)
and McKinley Elementary

Q: At school, what have you done to create a safer climate for LGBTQ youth and their families?

I’m a new school social worker so I’m trying to figure out exactly how I’m going to be doing that.  Part of it is finding out what is going on in campus and introducing myself to people as a safe ally.

Q: What is a fun activity you’ve done for LGBTQ youth?

I hope to implement some of the family diversity curriculum, making my work space a safe space for students to make sure that they know that they can drop by and it will be confidential.  I’m excited to be here and do this. 

Q: What were some challenges/barriers you encountered?

Right now the biggest challenge is finding out what’s going on and gathering all the information.  My job is varied, so it’s a huge challenge to make sure I have time to do this important work.

Q: What inspired you to create safer spaces for LGBTQ youth?

I love working with young people.  My background is in adolescent health.  I’m very passionate about this because I know the LGBTQ community has so many challenges so I’m trying to be an ally for them when they are students.  I’m trying to create a safe space they can go to get information.  I want them to know that they have extra support and resources to feel safe. 

Q: What has been the school/community reaction for the work you’ve done?

So far there has been a lot of support and that feels wonderful. 

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Quote - “Treat everyone like you love them, even if they are different.” - 12th grader, School of the Arts High School

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