Olivia is friendly, professional and well prepared. She has good rapport with the students and teachers alike which makes it incredibly seamless to have her join the classroom. The thing that was so great about having Olivia do the lesson about families is that she talked about her own personal experience which makes it so much more meaningful to the students. It removes the danger of me telling about something that is “other” and makes it more comfortable and familiar.
Once Olivia kicked us off, it was really easy for me to do a lot of follow up with good books and activities about our own families as well as lessons about mutual respect for all people in general. She did a great job of introducing ideas to the children in a natural way that made them interested and comfortable and I think it will make teachers interested and comfortable as well.
-Ms. Danielle Gilbert, Elementary School teacher
This past spring I had the great good fortune to help plan Alameda’s 4th Harvey Milk Day Celebration. The event was a tremendous success, working with the committee members was terrific, but becoming a colleague and friend of Olivia Higgins was especially meaningful and moving. I am relatively new to the effort to support LGBTQ youth in schools, and it was powerful and inspiring to have someone like Olivia serve as a mentor. She brings so many gifts to the work she has done, and will do, for our schools and community: a keen mind, a compassionate heart, the conviction of an activist and the sensitivity of a parent. More specifically, we worked together on the poster and poem contest and I was deeply impressed with her ability to interact with elementary, middle and high school aged children. Olivia is an exceptional leader, with charisma, a great sense of humor, patience and a strong voice.
I just finished my 30th year as a classroom teacher, have worked with many administrators and community members on a myriad of projects, and can tell you that Olivia is among the finest I have known.
Mr.Gene Kahane, High School teacher
The lesson was calm and low key (a nice change from the hysteria that sometimes accompanies such discussions among adults!) The children had their questions answered in a way they could understand; I thought the lesson and materials that went with it were perfectly tuned to first grade interests, concerns, and abilities. Having it focus on different kinds of families is a good way into their hearts as first graders revere their families and enjoy talking about them.
My favorite part was the simple diagram she drew: Women (heart) women; Men (heart) women; Woman (heart) men; Men (heart) men with the appropriate words for each relationship. To me it simply showed that we are all human beings loving other human beings.
I wish the world at large could hear it.
Ms. Judith Lynch, 1st Grade teacher
Last night at our PTA meeting Olivia Higgins gave an exceptional presentation on School Safety. Her approach touched on many different “safety” issues parents and teachers are concerned with. She has a calm approach that really helped our parents last night take away ideas on how to talk to our kids about bullying v. teasing, how to talk about crisis situations and other events that might effect school activities and learning. I wish I had video taped it last night to show you how well she did.
Tina Hernandez, PTA President