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In 2017 De'Les Green-Morris, Spanish teacher turned Be More Media Club Coordinator at West Charlotte High School, began adapting the after school program activities to her students’ interests and identities. As a volunteer for the after school program, she recognized that many of her students were creatives. So, she began incorporating artistic programming into the curriculum such as mentorship opportunities, skill-building workshops, and cultural field trips. As a Queer Black educator, she also realized that many students who identified as LGBTQ+ community members gravitated towards her programs. Next, Mrs. Green-Morris introduced identity exploration and LGBTQ+ inclusive content into her lessons. This positively impacted student interest and engagement. They expressed feeling seen, feeling safe, and finding solace in their meetings.
The pandemic paused the world and everyone had to figure out their place and what to do in the “new normal.” School instruction was virtual for an unforeseeable amount of time and many students were not coping well mentally or emotionally. In May of 2020, after over a month of receiving distressed text messages and phone calls, De'Les Green-Morris, now Executive Director, planned virtual check-ins to keep in touch with her students. Her goal was to keep them engaged and connected. Many colleagues and friends were also struggling with the social isolation Covid-19 brought so she also planned weekly check-ins with them. Next, to enhance everyone’s experience on the virtual calls, she added group discussion topics and activities. Soon, this space for connection despite social distancing evolved into Mrs. Green-Morris creating a virtual self-care workshop series using program facilitators that had interesting and helpful fields of work.
The workshops received glowing reviews and became more popular. After receiving numerous requests for more programs like this, it clicked for Mrs. Green-Morris; this is how we are meant to serve our community! Upon reflecting on the ongoing surge of civil unrest, increased stress as well as anxiety during the Covid-19 crisis, and recognized need of BIPOC & LGBTQ+ inclusive community spaces, our organizational focus shifted to mental health support, experiential life skill, and creative SEL workshops.
Although we have expanded our services to adults, we prioritize BIPOC & LGBTQ+ youth, as they experience some of the highest instances of mental health issues, have less access to effective support services, and often do not have the means to financially support themselves. We believe that by serving the most vulnerable in communities, we can generate a profound impact in our community.
The Be More Foundation’s mission is to empower the Black, Brown, & LGBTQ+ communities by promoting innovative approaches to education, art, self-advocacy, and radical self-care.
Our vision is a community in which BIPOC and LBGTQ+ people get the support and resources they need to thrive.