Danna Johnston (right) and Communities In Schools of Seattle Alum Gloria Boateng. Photo courtesy Don Borin.
March is Women’s History Month, a time when we pay tribute to the women who have left an indelible mark on our society. At Communities In Schools, we work to make sure that every young woman we serve is confident, aware of her self-worth and ready to change the world for the better.
In Washington state, The Danna K. Johnston Foundation has been working with Communities In Schools of Seattle at Rainer Beach High School for the past three years. This local nonprofit provides young people with mentors, tutors and other resources they need to lead healthy, productive lives.
In 2011, it came to The Danna K. Johnston Foundation’s attention that there were high instances of both teen pregnancy and bullying among girls at Rainer Beach High School. They needed to find a way to alleviate the situation, and collaborated with Communities In Schools of Seattle on a solution.
“Communities In Schools is the liaison between the community and the school,” said Danna Johnston, founder of The Danna K. Johnston Foundation. “They helped facilitate a conversation between our organization and Rainer Beach’s nursing team, to figure out how to best help the young women at the school.”
Together, The Danna K. Johnston Foundation and Communities In Schools of Seattle launched a series of “lunch and learn” monthly workshops, where young women are provided with a nutritious meal while the school’s nursing staff leads a discussion about women’s health and how to deal with daily stressors like peer pressure and bullying. The workshops are a safe place for students to ask questions and speak their minds.
“The students look forward to coming in and talking with other female students at the school in a way that they haven’t before,” Johnston said. “At the lunch and learn workshops, they can discuss their feelings, rather than hold bad feelings inside.”