I attended the very first network night of the year on Tuesday, October 30th and itexceeded any/all expectations! This network night was held at Ramsay high school. I’m a proud alum of Ramsay High School so I was excited to see what was in store. When I entered the school I was greeted by a group of student volunteers. They assisted me with signing in and directing me to the table of food provided by Ed. Once the program started, things began to take off! The Network Night was hosted by a teacher of the school who did a wonderful job engaging the audience. The first activity was “New and Good.” The host asked everyone to get into groups of 6 and share with each other something that was new and good in their lives. This gave everyone the opportunity to start the evening on a positive note and share the good things. We then moved on to the second activity. The host asked the audience for six conversation topics they wanted to talk about and to break off into groups discussing those topics. The group I was apart of had a conservation about school violence/bullying and ways this could be prevented in our schools. Everyone had an opinion on such and respected each others’. So much passion to figure out what was needed was shown. Another segment of the night included “marketplace”. The marketplace involves everyone in the circle. The host takes the time to go around and ask everyone if they have a request or an offer. A request can be anything you need or would like help with. Offers are things you feel like you can offer to the people in the room. A student made a request to have help with improving their ACT score and was matched with someone that had those resources. I would say over 20 students were matched with someone that night. It was amazing! The night ended with a group photo full of smiles, an indication that tonight was indeed a success! I can’t wait to see what the next Network Night has in store!
Overall, the network night showed me that there are people in our community that really want to help or be helped, but just do not have access to or know about the resources available. This night seemed as though it gave the individuals a sense of hope that change or better is possible since their voices were heard. It also allowed the students to empower themselves since it was mostly students matching with other students to help with their requests. I’m sure many left feeling empowered and motivated. I know I did.