Volume 19, Number 7
October/November 2002


Tolerance Through Education

By Karen J. Mathis

Unless you've been under a rock, you know that the ABA is the world's largest voluntary professional association in the world, with more than 400,000 members-and about 20,000 of them belong to the General Practice, Solo and Small Firm Division. But did you know that the largest girl's organization in the world is Girl Scouts USA? With 3.25 million Girl Scouts and 1 million adult volunteers, Girl Scouts USA dwarfs the total of all bar associations in the United States!
So it is with great excitement that our Section announces it will co-sponsor a Tolerance Through Education program with Girl Scouts USA. This is the first program co-sponsored by the ABA and Girl Scouts, and the subject is a fitting one. Hate crimes are on the rise in the United States, with the majority committed by young adults. Tolerance Through Education will focus on three projects designed to help provide young people with age-appropriate education about tolerance and diversity.
The first project will disseminate a video for third-graders that addresses preventing hate-motivated behaviors, along with a written curriculum and song to teach the principles of respect for differences and the importance of belonging. Second, a series of exercises has been designed that will teach young children to resolve conflict through constructive play rather than violence. The third project provides outreach to junior high and high school students relevant to hate crime and violence education and prevention. Working with Girl Scouts will greatly expand the program's reach and visibility among young people in our nation.
The program was designed by the ABA Young Lawyers Division and is being revamped by the GPSSF Section and the Girl Scouts to work with young people in our schools and Girl Scout troops. The program was highlighted at the Section's Fall Meeting in San Diego, California, with a free training session for the volunteers and a demonstration of the program with a local elementary school's third-grade class. The Immediate Past President of the ABA, Robert Hirshon, and the President of Girl Scouts USA, Connie Matsui, provided inspirational words during their remarks at the Section's luncheon on Friday, October 4. This program can provide the template for future cooperative efforts between the bar and other public service organizations, and the GPSSF Section is proud to be a pioneer in these efforts.
Whether you're a lawyer who works with Girl Scouts or just a lawyer, learn more about this important opportunity to make a difference in your community. For more information about this program, contact Lara Trujillo at 312/988-5659; or Laura Farber ,the program's originator at , 626/796-9123.

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