To this end, I accessed the website for the high school located just a few blocks from where Chris and I live, clicked on "Email the Principal," and wrote the following:
Hi, Mr. _______. My name is Rick, and I'm a resident of ______________.
I'm not sure you've heard about the "It Gets Better" Project, but it was started last fall by American columnist Dan Savage and his partner, Terry Miller, following the suicides of numerous students because they were gay or suspected of being gay. Savage and Miller created the first YouTube video, telling their story as gay men who were bullied in school, and urging today's youth to hang in there--that is, not to commit suicide--because life gets so much better for gays, lesbians, bisexuals, and transgendered once their school years are over. Their video turned into a movement, with thousands upon thousands of others (including gays, straights, and everyone in between) creating their own videos in support of LGBTQ youth. (For more information, please check out www.itgetsbetter.org.)
Recognizing that many young people don't have access to the Internet, or to the support materials they might need during a difficult time in their lives, Savage and Miller transposed some of the messages from the videos (and included original essays) into a book titled "It Gets Better: Coming Out, Overcoming Bullying, and Creating a Life Worth Living." The book contains articles from a wide variety of people, including U.S. President Barack Obama and U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton; people well known in the media, such as Ellen DeGeneres, David Sedaris, and Suze Orman; and everyday people, telling their own personal stories of triumphing over being tormented in school. I own a copy of "It Gets Better," I've read it in detail, and I know if I'd had access to its important and uplifting message of self-acceptance and hope when I was growing up in the 1970s, there's no telling how much easier my life would have been.
The "It Gets Better" Project presents the opportunity for people to donate money so that copies of the book can be bought and sent to schools across the United States. But I'd like to do one better than that and not only donate a copy to a school, but donate it to a Canadian school, in my own community, where I'm certain it would be an important resource for gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgendered students. Of course, this school is _________________.
If your school already has a copy of "It Gets Better," great. I'd be thrilled to learn that. I'd appreciate knowing so I could similarly contact other schools in the ______________ area to make enquiries of them.
I hope you recognize how useful a tool the book "It Gets Better" could be to potentially at-risk students in your school. Nothing would make me happier than walking over to your school, meeting you in person, and handing you a copy of Savage and Miller's book.
I look forward to hearing from you at your earliest convenience.
Anyone who's kept up with my blog recently knows how much I've thought of the book It Gets Better. Against copyright laws, I've quoted from it readily and unabashedly, and I've used it as inspiration for several posts. I can't speak highly enough of the simplicity and the importance of its message, and I'd be ecstatic if every Canadian school made this critical resource available to students across the country.
If you're a Canadian reader, and you'd like to follow my lead, by all means use the text of my letter above (if you want) to make contact with your local schools.
You've heard of "Adopt a Highway"? Well, how about "Adopt a School"? Let's make sure every gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgendered, or questioning student has access to It Gets Better. We have a responsibility to support our youth in any way we can.
P.S.: I'll let you know what response I receive from the local school principal.