University Park, IL,
17:05 PM

Governors State's SEA Connecting to Teach Kind Kids

Despite the pandemic, the Governors State University’s chapter of the Student Education Association (SEA) remains a close-knit community of education majors who routinely tackle difficult conversations.

The SEA, a pre-professional organization of undergraduate and graduate students preparing for careers in education, was recently awarded a grant for the National Education Association. The chapter will use the grant to provide six workshops at the Oak Forest Library, starting in Feb., to discuss activism with children and their parents.

Education major Kate Drish, president of SEA and vice president of Kappa Delta Pi International Honors Society for Education, worked with four faculty members to submit the proposal for the Kind Kids Virtual Story Telling Nights.

“Education literacy is key,” Drish explained. “That was our inspiration.”

The workshop will cover topics such as civil rights, women’s rights (on International Women’s Day), gender identity, animal rights, and environmental rights. The grant money will be used to provide books and materials for activities for families that signup. The materials will be picked up at the library for families to take home and complete together. After the materials are in-hand, participants will have a chance to attend a Zoom meeting, where there will be a discussion and a presentation by a community activist related to the topic.

Drish hopes the workshops will assist parents overwhelmed in the remote setting.

“We’re focusing on topics that could be taboo or that families might not have the information and resources on to introduce them to their children” she said. “We just want to get families together during this crazy time.”

While every workshop will be able to accommodate 24 families, Drish and her faculty advisors made sure to create activities that would be inexpensive for families to recreate if the workshops fill up. All families are welcome to attend the Zoom discussion and presentation.

Katy Hisrich, Education professor and chair of the Chapter, notes SEA’s dedication to staying connected with each other and the community during the pandemic.

“Despite COVID, we’re offering the same amount of events we would normally offer––just virtual,” Dr. Hisrich said.

Professional development workshops, like career and LGBTQ awareness workshops, are in full force and popular bi-weekly socials are beginning to make headway across the University. The socials are a chance for education majors, faculty, staff, and students across the university to come together. During this time, they enjoy trivia games and pet shows, and make plans to give back to the community. An upcoming community effort is an opportunity to make blankets for animal shelters and hospitals. At the moment, there is great anticipation over an upcoming musical trivia event that will pit faculty and staff against the students.

Hisrich explains that these interactions and connections are now more important than ever. She recalls early in the pandemic when her students made a point of hosting an activity before class each week to do together over Zoom, such as cooking or trivia.

“It brings stability and security to people because we all know it’s important for your emotional wellbeing to be connected to other people” Hisrich said. “We try to do what we can to make it as easy as possible for people to join and be engaged.”

Drish remembers that the sense of community in SEA is what she was drawn to originally.

“The education majors are so supportive and work so well together, and we want people to continue having this sense of support,” she said. “This time is crazy, and we want to provide an outlet to have fun and get to know people. Providing professional workshops and fun events helps build connections and stay engaged.”

Sign up for the Kind Kids Virtual Storytime events here. Keep an eye out for future SEA events!