Charity from the heart – Club AWARE

The+members+of+Club+AWARE+during+a+Day+1+meeting.%0ACourtesy+of+Alexis+Karas%2716

The members of Club AWARE during a Day 1 meeting. Courtesy of Alexis Karas’16

Members of Club AWARE (Are We All Really Equal) at Convent of the Sacred Heart celebrate diversity and individuality both inside and outside of the school community. Juniors and club heads Alexis Karas, Yahnah Johns-Woodby and Caitlin Joyles spread knowledge of other cultures in this Day 1 club.
“I have been a member of Club AWARE for 3 years and I have really enjoyed being a part of this club,” Alexis said. “I applied to be a head of this club because I wanted to put my leadership skills to the test and allow others to immerse themselves in many different cultures.”
Club AWARE celebrates the diverse ethnicities of students from various cultures. Last October, the club hosted a potluck lunch where club members shared authentic meals from their heritages.
“The lunch was filled with so many different cuisines from different cultures. This lunch gave me the opportunity to try foods that I have never tried before, and I really enjoyed it. One of my favorite foods was the Greek tzatziki dip and pita chips,” junior Aggie Ryan said.
The club models their meetings after typical diversity conferences, which discuss various topics including race, sexual orientation and religious views. During meetings, the club plans events to reveal the issues associated with diversity and multiculturalism to the entire student body.

The members of Club AWARE during a Day 1 meeting. Courtesy of Alexis Karas'16
The members of Club AWARE during a Day 1 meeting.
Courtesy of Alexis Karas ’16

This year, AWARE will host the first diversity conference at Sacred Heart. The conference will be open to students from Sacred Heart as well as Fordham Preparatory School, Marymount School of New York, School of the Holy Child, Xavier High School, and Fairfield College Preparatory School. 
“Sacred Heart has initiated a relationship with five other area schools,” Upper School Theology Teacher and Club AWARE moderator Mrs. Kerry Bader said. “The purpose of the relationship is to discuss and understand how single sex, religious based schools are poised to uniquely address the issues of diversity and multiculturalism through the lens of understanding the dignity of the human person as made in the Image and Likeness of God.”
The club will also attend the DAIS (Diversity Awareness Initiative for Students) 16th Annual Multicultural Student Leadership Conference May 16. Participants will discuss various societal issues and receive feedback from other students of various cultures. The conference will also educate students about how stereotypes affect others.
“We discuss how we feel and what we can do to create a better understanding of the people around us. This forum allows us to discuss how to be comfortable in our own skin and how to become well-rounded people,” Yahnah said. 
The club heads intend to teach members about various cultures through organizing hip hop classes at the Broadway Dance Center in New York City in March.  In addition, the heads of the club said a prayer and showed a video February 23 during morning meeting in the spirit of Black History Month.
“Diversity is about more than race and skin color,” senior and club member Gissele Alzate said. “This club aspires towards celebrating individuality and expressing our unique backgrounds.”
– Holly Roth, Staff Writer