Baldwin’s Diversity Club has been resurrected with a new focus and an expanded mission.
Seniors Cassidy Harms and Aubrey Shaw spurred the effort to revive the club, which had been dormant for several years.
“The goal is to help people in the community feel more comfortable and find friends. Just to have a place to feel themselves and really fit in,” Harms said.
When searching for a sponsor, Harms went to counselor Caroline Babik.
Babik said she was happy to help because the mission of the club is such an essential one.
“I agree with Cassidy that a club like this is so important in today’s changing world,” Babik said.
Harms gave a lot of credit not only to Babik, but also biology teacher Sarah Lyle, who was a sponsor of the club several years ago. Though Lyle did not have enough time to sponsor the club this year, she was very helpful in the effort to get the club going again, Harms said.
The earlier version of the Diversity Club focused on cultural, racial, and ethnic diversity as well as LGBTQ issues. Harms wanted this new version of the club to be more like the Gay Straight Alliance groups that many schools have.
The Diversity Club remains the official name because funding is tied to the club names as they are listed in the collective bargaining contract of the district, but the club is informally using the name Outreach GSA/Diversity to highlight its new purpose.
The “outreach” part of that name has been evident in the community projects the club already has been involved in.
Club members helped weed and spruce up the rain garden in front of the school earlier this year. Club member Anna Kelly, a sophomore, was involved in another club project, which raised money for charity in November.
“We are raising money for the Children’s Institute, where kids with life-altering conditions go to get physical therapy and treatment done,” Kelly said.
Club members encouraged students to donate to the cause and make cards for the children in an attempt to brighten their day as they are treated for their illnesses.
While reaching out to help the community at large, the club also hopes to raise LGBTQ awareness and encourage more inclusive spaces for all Baldwin students.
“For me, it’s just equality and acceptance,” Harms said.