PSE&G partners with Tyler Clementi Center to empower LGBT students
PSE&> delivers more than just electricity to the people of New Jersey, as the company recently forged a partnership with the Tyler Clementi Center at Rutgers University.
PSE&> provided a $10,000 grant to help the organization fund an “LGBT Youth Empowerment Initiative.”
The Tyler Clementi Center plans to use the $10,000 grant to host a day-long LBGT youth empowerment event for high school students across New Jersey. This event will feature workshops focusing on youth leadership, pre-college preparation and showcasing opportunities open to LGBT youths, according to the Tyler Clementi Center website.
The Tyler Clementi Center studies the transition experience of students, particularly those who come from a stigmatized population, by examining the impact of bias and peer aggression. Their mission is to study the transition of young people coming into college in the digital era, according to their website.
During this event, students will partake in a series of workshops. Topics will include Gay-Straight Alliance (GSA) leadership, navigating challenges in the "coming out process," healthy responses to bullying, LGBT culture and history and finding an LGBT-friendly college.
“These workshops are designed to engage students in meaningful discussions about identity development, healthy coping strategies, self-care and constructive methods for responding to anti-LGBT violence,” said Lee Sabatini, the communications advisor at PSE&>.
During the workshops, the Tyler Clementi Center will also conduct a youth climate survey to assess the environment that LGBT high school students face and the specific hardships they experience transitioning into college.
“The program is designed to reduce risk behavior, inter/intra-community violence and to improve the overall mental and physical health of youth participants,” Sabatini said.
The main focus of these workshops will be helping high school students since high school tends to be a challenging and transitional period for LGBT individuals, Sabatini said.
These workshops will provide students with tools to be more successful in their transition and to later utilize in college, she said.
This is not the first time that PSE&> has partnered with the Tyler Clementi Center, said Maren Greathouse, director of the Tyler Clementi Center.
“PSE&> Foundation has been supportive of similar LGBT youth programming hosted by Rutgers in the past. PSE&> assisted with funding the very first LGBT youth empowerment event at Rutgers University—Newark in 2012,” Greathouse said.
Greathouse said she believes this partnership between PSE&> and the Tyler Clementi Center is important because many of the organizations that serve LGBT-identified youth are often understaffed and underdeveloped.
Through corporate partnerships, these organizations are able to expand and adhere fully to the needs of students, Greathouse said. These partnerships also provide New Jersey companies with an opportunity to positively impact the lives of young students, she said.
PSE&> has supported other LGBT organizations and initiative, including the Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network's (GLSEN) Central Chapter and the Pride Network, Sabatani said.
“I have learned the most powerful and entrapping thing LGBT students face are stereotypes. However, big companies beginning to take action and celebrities standing up for LGBT rights have begun to chip away at this stigma,” said Saad Athar, a member of the LGBT community and a first-year student in the School of Arts and Sciences.
PSE&>’s partnership with the Tyler Clementi Center at Rutgers sets an example for other schools and companies to follow, Athar said.
“Our hope is that students will walk away from the event feeling a sense of pride in who they are, feeling a sense of safety in knowing the many resources and trusted adults available to them and energized and excited for the future ahead of them,” Greathouse said.
Adityaa Shukla is a School of Arts and Sciences first-year student. She is a contributing writer for The Daily Targum.