Student artwork from last year's Embracing Our Differences exhibit. 

The McCauley-Brown Fund of the Community Foundation of Sarasota County awarded Embracing Our Differences a $2,000 grant for its 2019-2020 Unity Days program. The initiative engages Sarasota County high school students and staff in a day of team-building activities that inspire cooperation, communication and empathy. During the 2019-2020 school year, Embracing Our Differences will provide Unity Days events to all seven Sarasota County public high schools.

Sarah Wertheimer, EOD’s executive director, explains that the organization launched the program last year at Sarasota High School. “After 100 percent of the participants testified that they learned something new and the activities helped them interact better with others, Sarasota County school district administrators requested that Embracing Our Differences provide these special events at all public high schools in Sarasota County," she says.

Through a series of activities facilitated by a trained professional, approximately 75 students at each school will be asked to participate. Prior to each event, a core group of student leaders meet multiple times with the facilitator to receive training to help lead the event. The color orange will be worn as a visually compelling expression of solidarity and as a symbol of unity, sending the unified message to students that they are not alone.

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