Unity Days

 

Embracing Our Differences Unity Day initiative promotes empathy and respect among high school students through a full-day workshop of team-building activities that encourage cooperation and communication while providing opportunities for students to embrace their similarities & respect their differences.

Studies have shown that school communities with a culture of inclusion report far fewer instances of bullying and social isolation. Whether online or in school, according to The National Center for Education Statistics, approximately one in five students, ages 12-18, reports being bullied on a regular basis. Meaningful change in eliminating bullying occurs when students feel empowered to make a difference on their school’s campus with peer-driven initiatives that encourage students of all ages and backgrounds to learn from each other.

What does Unity Day look like?

Over the course of a entire school day, cohorts of approximately 75 students acquire the tools to be active leaders and create an inclusive culture within their respective school communities.

Prior to the event, a core group of 10 to 15 student leaders and 2 to 4 faculty members are identified and meet with the Unity Day facilitator to receive training to help lead the event. Additional student participants are selected through teacher nominations with an emphasis on identifying "alternative leaders" who are leaders in their peer group and not just students who fit into the “best or brightest” stereotype. 

Examples of Unity Day workshop activities include:

Activity

Objective

If You Really Knew Me:

To demonstrate the importance of being/exposing your authentic self and being able to recognize that there is more to your peers than what is apparent on the surface.

Leader of the Pack:

To demonstrate for students the opportunity to spontaneously take a leadership role and command the attention of their small groups by having them follow their directives.

Touch the Shoulder:

To create awareness of how people prejudge others and to help students recognize prejudgments they may have made about each other.

Social Identity Wagon Wheel:

This discussion technique gives students the opportunity to respond to questions with a variety of peers, encouraging students to identify and reflect on the various ways they associate socially and how those identities impact the ways others perceive or treat them. 

Human Knot:

To encourage cooperation and team-building skills as kids work together to untangle a group knot, while silent. 

Cross the Line:

To emphasize the importance of knowing and communicating personal values while reflecting upon their own self-identities and acknowledging the identities of others.

Closing Circle:

This end-of-day responsive closing circle uses techniques that foster reflection and celebration after participating in activities on self-reflection and building relationships.

For a sample workshop agenda, click here

Unity Day Outcomes

Unity Day participants are provide the opportunity to:

  • Meet NEW people
  • Break down walls & get REAL
  • Learn & Practice communication Skills
  • Understand “diversity beyond race/culture
  • Experience labeling & stereotyping
  • Identify with others and share experiences
  • Discuss community & campus needs
  • Learn to SPEAK UP
  • Discuss, process and validate change 

More Information

For more information, please contact us at [email protected] or 941-404-5710.

2019-2020 Unity Days

During the 2019-20 school year, Embracing Our Differences facilitated Unity Day events in all seven Sarasota County public high schools, reaching over 500 students and faculty members.