For Project Coach's Valentine's Day session, Anna, a Red Shirt, baked cupcakes for everyone. The session began with a brief presentation given by the Red Shirts about some good event in their Blue Shirts' lives. Barbara finished her credit recovery! A video clip of Marquis, a Red Shirt, followed these presentations. The Blue Shirts were asked to comment on the clip. They praised Marquis’ body language; he was able to connect with the entire group of Blue Shirts around him. He maintained eye contact, was laughing, and repeated what he was being told back to the speaker, indicating that he had been listening. Some other clips followed in which the Blue Shirts critiqued the coaches in the clips on their body language and overall communication skills. The most interesting part of the session came towards the end when the Blue Shirts picked up an index card and then gave a presentation to the entire group.
Xavier picked up an index card with the word ‘safety’. He thinks that Springfield needs more police on the streets because, he told the group, there have already been three homicides this year, and the year has just begun. In school he doesn’t feel safe because of the fighting he encounters, kids start fights for no reason, he said, it doesn’t make any sense. When the floor opened up for questions he was asked to pretend he was the principal. If you were your school’s principal how would you make the school safer? Xavier responded that he would ask the teachers for assistance; he would ask the teachers to be on the look out.
Devan picked up the ‘equality and social justice’ index card. The card asked whether he had ever encountered racism or sexism. Devan said he had encountered racism, and proceeded to share his experience through storytelling. His class had been assigned the book “Finding Fish” by Antwone Q. Fisher and one boy in the class would constantly make snide jokes about African Americans. Devan would joke right back at him, but once at home felt like he should of hit him or something, even though he knew that that wouldn’t solve anything. In another instance, when Devan’s class was asked who their role model is, one student responded that his role model was Hitler. Devan didn’t know how to respond. The Blue Shirts' presentations gave everyone an opportunity to apply what they had learned about listening and communicating.