Pride School Atlanta Has Closed Its Doors
As some of you may already be aware, the era of Pride School Atlanta, Inc. has come to a close. Some may find it sad that we are closing our operations as an organization and school, but we have done great work all around the world thanks to all of you.
In good conscience, we have been working diligently to pay off our final bills by selling and donating our inventory to Title I schools, and home-school groups and families. Our offices are now completely closed. We appreciate all final donations to meet our close-out financial obligations - any amount helps. If donations exceed our commitments, we will direct them back to another small local LGBTQIA non-profit.
Additionally, all of our donate buttons on our website and social media were removed at the first of August. Donations to help us close out operations may be made by check to
Pride School Atlanta, Inc.
2277 Eastway Rd
Decatur, GA 30033
or via PayPal to PRIDESCHOOLATL@GMAIL.COM .
Why have we closed? Our objective was to create an environment that was a safe space for LGBTQIA & ally students, educators, and families to be themselves and have a full seat at the educational table. While this has not been achieved everywhere, there are many schools, learning communities, and school systems in Metro Atlanta that have made dramatic changes to policies to be more inclusive. Secondly, those school systems, mostly outside of Metro Atlanta, that have not made these changes are where most of the students who still need us reside, making it logistically impossible to serve those students. Even our best efforts to meet their needs still create both travel and financial hardship, and that is not our intent.
Although we are closing our doors, it is not without success while we were open. After two years of networking, media appearances, fundraising and planning, we opened our small school in Fall 2016 with eight students, most of whom were teenagers. It was a year filled with learning, growing, drama, peace, love, laughter, support, new friendships, goodbyes, and most of all, PRIDE. It was imperfect, yet just as it should be on any particular day ... but we know we saved lives.
By Summer 2017, several of our students had moved back to public school, a few had moved away, some had bigger fish to fry than full-time school, and we were down to 5 students. While we served about 17 students and their families in our brick and mortar school, our organization has empowered hundreds of youth, educators, families, and organizations all around the world in our efforts to make this world a kinder place for LGBTQQIA & Ally people wherever they go.
Our organization has run its course, but our impact will be long lasting, thanks to all of you and those with whom you have connected to us over the last four years.
All of us at Pride School Atlanta, Inc. stand firmly in our belief that EVERY person deserves to be treated with respect, kindness, and affirmation of their best self. While many schools in Atlanta are welcoming to LGBQA youth, parents, and educators, most in the area are not as forward thinking when it comes to intersex, transgender and non-binary students, parents, and staff. Thus there is much education and advocacy work to be done here and far away from Atlanta, too.
This organization is closing, but you will see us around the community for sure! Each of us in continuing to do great work in and for our country's LGBTQQIA & Ally youth, educators and families. To reach either Christian or Lisa for consult, speaking or educational opportunities, take a look at the following messages from each of them.
I thank all of you who have made my life what it is today. I never could have dreamed 12 years ago that others would give me the courage to stand proudly as a queer transgender educator in support of all LGBTQIA and ally youth, educator, and families as they seek a full place at the educational table in Georgia and around the world.
There are many people who are not specifically mentioned in this letter, including YOU, but I hope you realize that you've changed the world.
When we started this venture of creating a small school that would be free of homophobia and transphobia back in 2014, we could never have imagined the impact our little organization would have on us, our families, your families, and complete strangers all around the globe. With the hearts, hands, voices, and donations of hundreds of amazing people like yourself, most of whom are allies to the LGBTQIA community, we were able to do something that has never before been done in the South.
We ALL created a school where those students who are most vulnerable would be free to be themselves, find themselves, and find their people, all while not having to fight for basic human rights like using the restroom or showing affection for a same gender partner.
Supported by veteran educators, students could be in charge of their education, learn at their own pace, and take required and favorite standards-based courses. Staff, students, and parents alike would come together to make impactful contributions and establish authentic relationships with peers and staff.
I will be continuing to support LGBTQIA youth, educators, and families around the state and beyond as a connector, advocate, and public speaker. As many of you know, I have a passion for transgender issues and am continuing to join more families, educators, and activists in the fight for rights for transgender, non-binary, and gender expansive youth and adults. Please don't hesitate to reach out to me as a resource and advocate for students and families who are still struggling for equal and fair treatment in education. Christian James Zsilavetz: Christian.Zsilavetz@gmail.com Cell: 206-261-1092
My objective in education has always been to create a space for students to become the best version of themselves. Coming from the public school arena, this is a huge challenge. Pride School Atlanta provided an ideal setting in which to give students, families, and educators the freedom to bring their best selves to the educational setting for the betterment of all parties. What a dream to be a part of this amazing space!
Thank you to Christian for bringing me on board three years ago to help bring his vision into fruition. Thank you to all of our supporters who have given countless hours fundraising and volunteering to keep the dream alive, and thank you to our families who trusted us with your precious kids. Thank you to our educators who worked part time for less than ideal wages, but gave your heart and soul to providing an amazing learning space for our students. Thank you to UUCA and City of Light for amazing spaces to work in. Thank you to family and friends who supported us even when the money wasn't coming in to pay our bills. Thank you to the Universe in being all things to us at all times.
I have been and will continue to be an educator and mentor to students of all ages who want to become the best version of themselves. This sometimes includes academic instruction, but usually involves deeper studies in self actualization. I have always believed and continue to believe that we have inside of us everything that we need to be successful. Sometimes it takes realizing that the sunshine and the soil are already present when the seed is planted and watered. I'm here to help peel back the layers for people wanting to discover their possibilities.
Additionally, my life's work includes creating an opportunity for reconciliation between people and their creator. In an era where it is not popular to be a Christian because of the damage done by uneducated and misinformed church goers, we are in fact realizing one of the greatest moves of Spirit across humanity regardless of religious affiliation. My relationship with my Creator has saved my life, enhanced my life, and made me the person I am today. I learned to see people through the lens of an omniscient kind and loving Spirit who does not see our differences and insecurities like we do. If for one minute I can share the love of Spirit with another human being so that they feel complete, whole, and perfect even for a moment, then my life struggles have been made worth enduring. This is the message I will be taking to community as a speaker, motivator, and educator. I can be reached at LisaBarber111@gmail.com or by phone: 678-447-7750.
Peace and Blessings on your journey.
The Mission of Pride School Atlanta, Inc. is to provide LGBTQQIAA* educators, students and families a rigorous and fun learning environment, free of homophobia and transphobia – a place that honors their identities so they may be themselves, find themselves, and find friends and mentors who can help them navigate the challenges of life and education.
To create an openly affirming space for youth, families and educators which focuses on student development in an environment with student-driven interdisciplinary learning, innovative advocacy efforts, democratic decision making, and mentorship to support students’ well-being and academic growth.
*Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Queer Questioning Intersex Asexual Allies