Empowering for Change:
Many Voices, One Mission
At Serviam Girls Academy we empower young women to change the world. To be effective change agents, we must reflect our world and continue to actively embrace a culture of diversity, equity, and inclusion. We define diversity, equity, and inclusion as:
Diversity is the representation of all our varied identities and differences (race, ethnicity, gender, age, ability/disability, sexual orientation, gender identity, religion, national origin, tribe, caste, socio-economic status, family structure, thinking and communication styles, etc.), collectively and as individuals.
Equity is the fair treatment, access, opportunity, and advancement for all people.
Inclusion is the act of building a culture of belonging by actively inviting the contribution and participation of all people.
We believe every person’s voice adds value, that no one person can or should be called upon to represent an entire community. We engage, understand, and draw on a variety of perspectives as we work together to achieve our Vision and Mission. Serviam Girls Academy respects and values its community and encourages its members to share their individual and collective experiences to inform school-wide, culturally-sustaining, equitable opportunities. Serviam Girls Academy creates an environment built on respect for the inherent dignity of all people.
Social Equity Initiative Overview
Serviam Girls Academy’s mission to “Cultivate the potential of young women through a challenging, holistic education rooted in the Ursuline tradition,” animating its vision of “Empowering young women, changing the world”.
Dedicated to providing exceptional educational opportunities, Serviam continually seeks to incorporate best practices, timely, relevant material, and skill development into the classroom. In the fall of 2020, Serviam launched the Social Equity Initiative to help students understand, process, and learn from the tragic death of George Floyd (among countless other people of color) and the history and continuation of systemic racism, as well as equip them with the tools, language, and support to move forward. While these events have been difficult to comprehend for most adults, it is difficult to imagine the difficulty Serviam pre-teen and teenage students are having as they try to make sense of it all, reliving personal episodes of racism, dealing with anxiety and worry about themselves, family and friends, and feeling a sense of betrayal by those whom they are taught are protectors. Of course, this is all happening during a global pandemic, a source of further stress and anxiety, with limited access to important relationships that form a vital support network.
The primary purpose of the Social Equity Initiative is to facilitate discussion on difficult issues that touch our lives. The discussions and ensuing activities will be cross-curricular, encompassing social studies, language arts, fine arts, and health. Serviam holds weekly one plus hour, small group discussions, co-facilitated by a faculty and a staff member, to deepen students’ knowledge of systemic racism, injustice, civil rights and teach appropriate responses, including advocacy, activism, and civil disobedience. Ideally, we hope to incorporate creative expression through the arts and activism in the winter and spring, and ultimately, engage the entire Serviam community in the creation of an ongoing action plan to weave the discernment of social equity into the fabric of Serviam curriculum and programming.
BluePrints for the Community
Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield Delaware awarded Serviam Girls Academy with a $19,500.00 grant for its Social Equity Initiative as part of its BluePrints for the Community Program. BluePrints for the Community, housed by the Delaware Community Foundation, has contributed over $15 million to the community since its inception in 2007. It was established to serve Delawareans, with emphasis on, but not limited to, the needs of the uninsured and underserved, to reduce health care disparities in minority populations, and to address social determinants of health.
“Serviam Girls Academy commitment to education and the well-being of their students is exemplified in their Social Equity Initiative, which Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield Delaware is pleased to support through BluePrints for the Community,” said Nick Moriello, President of Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield Delaware. “By ensuring health, nutrition, physical education, mindfulness, and mental wellness, are integrated into the learning process, we expect healthy outcomes for these students that will provide them with lasting benefits.”