SARASOTA - The Sarasota County School District has been awarded the 2019 Community Partner of the Year award by ALSO Youth, a student-centered organization whose mission is to empower LGBTQ+ youth and their allies to create inclusive communities.
ALSO Youth selected the school district as this year’s recipient due to its emphasis on increasing awareness for LGBTQ+ issues; helping young people deal with related issues of body image, gender identity, bullying and suicide; and offering training and support in schools to meet the needs of students.
“I am so pleased that ALSO Youth has selected Sarasota County Schools as its 2019 Community Partner of the Year recipient,” said Jane Goodwin, school board chair. “The district works hard to ensure all students feel safe, respected and included in our schools. This is a great testament to the dedication of our staff to support the needs of all our students.”
“ALSO Youth is proud of the relationship between our organization and Sarasota County Schools,” said Donna Hanley, interim director, ALSO Youth. “This partnership has made the LGBTQ+ youth in our schools feel included and accepted by community and school leaders. We are delighted the school district has embraced this issue and promoted a spirit of inclusivity in its schools.”
“Sarasota County Schools works to promote the well-being of all our students,” said Sonia Figaredo-Alberts, executive director, Pupil Support Services. “We offer many strategies to promote positive school environments, prevent bullying and offer services such as crisis prevention and intervention to students who need additional support. ALSO Youth has been a tremendous partner to help train our staff and provide extra services to our students.”
Former U.S. and world pairs figure skating champion Randy Gardner was the keynote speaker at the Sept. 8 brunch and award ceremony. Goodwin and Figaredo-Alberts accepted the award on behalf of the school district.