Washington State Holocaust Education Resource Center Programs
"I have learned to stand up for the people who need me." - Student, Juanita High School.
"I was reminded of the importance of respecting each other." - Student, Kentridge High School.
Teachers have been at the helm of those recognizing the importance and need for Holocaust education. They are using the Holocaust as a case study to encourage students of diverse backgrounds to confront issues of social and political responsibility, justice, and on an individual level - the difference that just one person can make.
Today, the Holocaust is taught across disciplines such as social studies, language arts, ethics and many more. It is critical that the Center's resources be expanded in our region to meet the growing demand by teachers and community leaders for this valuable human rights lesson.
Teaching Tolerance Trunk Program
In 2003, after consulting with our Educational Advisory Board, comprised of 25 educators and scholars, the Center recoginzed the need to get teaching materials to the schools. With the help of a pilot grant from Costco, the Center launched it's first teaching trunk. Today the Center has 16 trunks that reach over 8,640 K-12 students in the Pacific Northwest. Requests from teachers for these educational trunks have grown with waiting lists forming at the beginning of the school year. The trunks are large shipping cases filled with grade level appropriate books, maps, posters, DVDs, activities and a teacher's curriculumn guide. Teachers can borrow a trunk for up to three weeks at no charge. These trunks have helped the Center provide resources to schools with limited budgets and schools in rural communities. The trunks give students a hands-on way to learn about history, human rights in the world and their communities.
Speakers Bureau Program
The Center's Speakers Bureau, made up of Holocaust survivors, liberators, and children of survivors visit classrooms and communities throughout the region telling of their personal experiences. Last year, the speakers presented their stories at 245 venues and to audiences of 24,500. Teachers, students and communities now realize that this is the last opportunity to hear a Holocaust survivor or librator speak. Whereever the speakers are engaged, throughout our region, the venue is filled to capacity. In the schools, auditoriums filled with students sitting in silence for over an hour are a testimony to the powerful lessons delivered by the life experiences of the Center's speakers. The Center has volumes of letters written by students over the course of 20 years, thanking the Center for the opportunity to hear a survivor and how that experience changed and guided their lives.
Community Partnerships Programs
In an ever shrinking economy and with the demand for the Center's resources growing the Center is actively partnering with other nonprofit organizations to help meet the needs of our communities.
Below are examples of the partnerships which have helped the Center meet it's needs:
- Resources and program support for the Seattle Times Newspapers in Education Program
- Intiman Theatre
- Issaquah Village Theatre - Local Rotary groups
- Seattle International Film Festival
- Jewish Film Festival
- Fort Lewis Diversity Programs
- Social Security Administration.
- Teacher training program with the American Red Cross of Seattle
- Programming with the Seattle Archdiocese
- Educational Programs with OSPI - Teacher Workshop with the Intiman Theater
- Educational Programs with The Washington State Historical Society
- Programming with new higher education institutions including universities and community colleges in the area
- Programming with several home school resource groups
- Two co-sponsored exhibits at Odegaard Library at the University of Washington with SaveDarfurWashingtonState, Human Rights Watch and the USHMM
- Teacher training seminars with SaveDarfurWashingtonState and the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum
- KCTS Connects: DVD project about the Center's programs
Recent Successes and Current Challenges
The Center's teacher training seminars are filled to capacity with teachers attending from throughout the Pacific Northwest. Each year the Center has 2 large teacher training programs. One in western Washington and one in eastern Washington. The community is Sitka Alaska asked if the Center could conduct a teacher training in their community. They felt that this important human rights story would resonate with their students and their community. One of their high schools, Edgecombe High School, located in Sitka is a boarding school for students from small communities throughout Alaska, too small to have their own high schools. The Center responded with a community wide evening event at the Community Center and a full day teacher training workshop. The community evening event was at capacity with standing room only. An 86 year old survivor from Auschwitz spoke to a room filled with people who wanted to learn more, ask questions and share this unique experience. The teachers training seminar, conducted by the Center's Director of Education, was attended by over 20 teachers and librarians who learned about best practices, guidelines for teaching and what is new in the field of genocide and human rights education. After the seminar, the Center insured the sustainability of the program by providing Sitka with it's two of thier own teaching trunk, updated by the Holocaust Center for both the middle and high schools. Teachers from Sitka now attend seminars in Seattle and eastern Washington funded by their own community. This program has been duplicated in many rural communities (although Sitka is the only community with their own teaching trunks) and illustrates how the Center responds to the needs of a community.
Help us meet the growing need by teachers for our teaching trunks. Requests from teachers for our educational trunks have grown with waiting lists forming at the beginning of each school year. There is nothing more diffucult than to turn a teacher away who is requesting resources to help teach this valuable lesson. At this time we do not have funding to support an expanded program which would include: 3 additional trunks, higher shipping costs, personnel to handle logistics, review and a space to store the trunks. Our trunks contain educational materials for the study of the Holocaust, genocide and for teaching tolerance. Currently the trunks travel the state of Washington, but are often requested throughout the Pacific Northwest--Alaska, Washington, Oregon, Idaho and Montana. They provide K-12 schools with grade-level-appropriate books, maps, posters, DVDs, and teacher guides. They are available for borrowing for 3-week time periods by individual schools upon request. Last year we sent trunks to 144 schools, reaching 8,640 students, at no cost to the schools.