The aim of this service group is to raise awareness about discrimination and mistreatment of the LGBTQI+ community, especially within NIST, as well as to create a safe space for those who identify as part of the LGBTQI+ community. We aim to have a digital and social presence to keep the NIST community informed of world movements and news but also involve our community to ensure there is a constant understanding and alliance between us all. Our key target is to educate the members of our NIST community, but also the regional community by integrating a higher degree of LGBTQI+ information into the curriculum and collaborating with other service groups and schools to hold various events and awareness raising campaigns.
Two NIST students attended a keynote speech at 2015’s ServICE conference, inspiring the birth of this service group. Free to Be is a relatively new group, that aims at awareness and advocacy rather than fundraising. The group was created to allow for a safe space for all those members of the NIST community who identify as LGBTQI+ and to advocate to create a more inclusive environment within the school.
Free to Be HS strives to have a strong digital and social presence to keep the NIST community informed of world movements and news but also involve our community to ensure there is a constant understanding and alliance between us all. Our key target is to educate the members of our NIST community, but also the regional community by integrating a higher degree of LGBTQI+ information into the curriculum and collaborating with other service groups and schools to hold various events and awareness raising campaigns.
Which UN Sustainable Development Goals Do We Support?
To provide a clear context for the aims of service groups at NIST, we align our projects to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). “The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), otherwise known as the Global Goals, are a universal call to action to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure that all people enjoy peace and prosperity. The SDGs work in the spirit of partnership and pragmatism to make the right choices now to improve life, in a sustainable way, for future generations.” This NIST group supports the following goals:
Key Contacts & Experts
Are you interested in learning more about this group? Contact one of the team members to discover ways that you can become involved.
Sustainability & Transparency
All NIST service groups are held to our community’s high standards and values: integrity, caring, community and growth.
Number of Inquiries
14 inquiries sent via social networks & 4 lesson plans fully developed to be implemented
To produce an active and inclusive community standing up for LGBT+ rights and taking action against homophobia on their own behalf. By 2020, we hope to have a self sustaining LGBT+ integrated curriculum for students across secondary school.
95% of all funds and resources raised have been directly funneled to the beneficiary communities.
1st NIST high school student
For a while it seemed kind of obvious to me that I had different interests from the others around me, and I always felt forced to identify as something I wasn’t really. I heard phrases like “faggot” and “that’s so gay” being thrown around, which created a structure of internalized homophobia, which made me scared to come out. I’d try to be someone that I wasn’t, but that didn’t work out at all for me. I had friends who came out and knowing there was a group determined to help people like me, gave me the courage to do the same, which allowed me to stop trying to be a person that I wasn’t. Because of the NIST Free To Be Service group, I have been able to find a new platform to advocate and speak up about these issues, which meant I was able to be ‘myself’ again.
2nd NIST high school student
I’ve known I was gay since elementary when my best friend kissed me on my cheek for the first time. I’ve also known since elementary that not everyone is accepting of gay kids who just want to be themselves. It’s scary, but being true to my romantic preference has allowed me to shape my life into the person I am now, as it is such a huge part of my life that affects me in every aspect of everything I do. I don’t feel completely safe holding girls’ hands now, but someday I know I will, and I will continue to fight for that day alongside Free To Be, the GSA here at NIST, for which I am so thankful.
Access curriculum and learning materials that help develop and support our aims. Get inspired and feel supported with materials to help you take on service learning in your own community.
Visit the Free to Be (HS) website to learn more about our group, see photos from our archives and read the latest updates about our activities.
Contact us to learn how you can support this NIST service group. Whether you wish to donate, offer your expertise, provide resources or more, get in touch!