How RESPECT Continues to Offer Important Programs During COVID-19
When the coronavirus pandemic first hit, RESPECT was just about to head out on a caravan to western Nebraska in order to lead 12 workshops for hundreds of students who would be bussed into centralized locations. We looked forward to many students sitting side by side, enjoying a live theatre performance, shouting out answers, and joining us on stage to engage in role-play scenarios. That kind of setting now sounds like it could be out of a science fiction movie, as we have all become accustomed to social distancing, staying close to home, and viewing everything over Zoom. It was hard to imagine how we could adapt the exhilarating experience of live theatre to be something both enjoyable and educational through a remote platform.
The good news is that interactive RESPECT programs are not only possible, but successful, when conducted virtually. Our actor-educators under the direction of Dr. Patricia Newman and with guidance of Education Director, Kathleen McGee, have mastered the art of conducting interactive and engaging talkbacks with students – all while RESPECT staff and panelists are in their own homes. The play portion of our programs have been pre-recorded and can be played in individual classrooms or accessed by students who are at home. During the talk-back, schools have the option of Zooming in as multiple classes at a time, or in individual groups. RESPECT’s team is extremely flexible to make sure we meet the needs of each school within the framework that works for them.
In just the past few weeks, we have been welcomed into classrooms ranging from those holding pre-schoolers who are part of the Head Start program all the way through 8th graders at St. Patrick’s Catholic School, and everything in between. We have held customized workshops for high schoolers and we continue to provide weekly sessions at Marrs Magnet Middle School as a Collective for Youth partner.
Scholarships are available for all programs so that there is no cost to schools hosting our programs. This may be a challenging year, but RESPECT can help students reflect, process, and address those challenges through our large catalogue of offerings. Take a look at www.respect2all.org/programs to see what we can offer at your school or organization.
RESPECT staff are longing for the days of working with students in person, but we are proud to still be making an impact remotely!