Springfield students looking to break away from academics this summer and nurture their creative side, learn mindfulness activities, go on field trips, and have a real, safe space to be themselves, can enroll in the the Springfield Pride Parade organization’s free six-week summer program.

Any Springfield Public School student in grades 6-12 can enroll in the free Safe Space summer program. The program will be located on the Springfield College campus and will take place from July 11 to August 19. Free food will also be provided to students enrolled in the summer program. Space is very limited, anyone wishing to register or a member of their family can do so here.

A development of Springfield’s Safe Spaces Initiative – a commitment by local businesses to disavow hate speech, hateful actions or assaults that target the LGBTQ+ community in their establishments – Springfield Pride Parade leaders seek to donate young people in the city a “safe environment to communicate effectively, build self-confidence, work on their social and emotional skills, develop healthy relationships and focus on community engagement.

Weeks after hosting the city’s inaugural Pride Parade, Taurean Bethea, CEO of Springfield Pride Parade, said he was excited to continue cultivating inclusive culture in his hometown with the latest free summer program. .

“We want to give the kids something to do,” Bethea said. “Provide them with experiential learning opportunities with field trips, sharpen their creativity and focus on mindfulness and mental health to ensure we care for our young people.”

Students will take trips to local museums, Six Flag New England, Baystate Health, and other locations in and around the city. Bethea is especially eager to show students around Springfield College and introduce them to college counselors.

Students will participate in a series of arts programs led by Christopher Seabrooks, including the design of the Pride crosswalk on Main Street.

Three local organizations have received city council approval to install a Pride crosswalk in downtown Springfield. On the left is the intersection of Main Street at Court Street and Bruce Langdon Way as it appears. On the right is an early design of her appearance with the colors of the rainbow. Left photo by Patrick Johnson. Right photo submitted by Springfield Cultural Partnership.

Bethea said Azell Cavann, head of the Springfield Public Schools Communications Department, will also lead some programming for the free summer program.

This isn’t the first time the Bethea organization has worked with Springfield youth. Springfield Pride Parade members have spent the past school year working with several Gay-Straight Alliance clubs in Springfield schools.

The organization invited students to join them, the mayor of Sarno and other city officials in raising the city’s pride flag in early June.

Other activities are still being developed for the free Safe Space summer program. Anyone wishing to register their student for the program can do so at the Springfield Pride Parade. websiteplaces in the program will be allocated on a first-come, first-served basis.

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