July82011

Sub/Urban Justice!

My job as a facilitator/teacher at Sub/Urban Justice just started on Thursday.  Essentially, S/UJ is a summer program where high schoolers learn about social justice issues in the context of American society and their own lives, and they learn about how to change the world a little bit through community organizing.  I did S/UJ last year, but not as a full-blown staff member. The other three on staff and I have been working on the curriculum for weeks, but yesterday was the first day of the program.

I was nervous as hell.

Nervous because maybe I didn’t know my stuff well enough to explain it, and maybe none of the 25 participants would like me, and maybe on top of that I would be super awkward or mix up their names or something random and embarrassing would happen.  An hour or so before the participants were supposed to arrive I was eating lunch in Harvard Square.  A turkey sandwich on an everything bagel.  I tried to direct every ounce of energy towards eating that bagel.  I was worried that if I didn’t, I would explode from so much anxiety.

And then the time kept passing and I was pushed towards the inevitable beginning of what I had been prepping for since June.  I stepped into the main room, with two dozen people I didn’t know, and I suddenly felt much better.  They all seemed friendly.

So we went through the agenda - icebreakers, name games, talking about social justice issues (which I won’t get into here), more icebreakers, got pizza.  By the end of the day I remembered why I love Sub/Urban Justice.  We were well-prepared to facilitate.  We got to walk down to the Charles River.  The whole group engaged in meaningful discussions, on the first day!  AND we had fun!  Nervousness cured.

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