How AMAZE Started
In 1996, a group of parents, teachers, administrators, and community members came together in response to an incident of student-against-student prejudice. Ellie, a second grade student, received a handmade birthday card from a classmate with a message of hate towards her family because she had two mothers.
“I hate you, girl lover!”
Believing that every child should feel physically and emotionally safe, the adults in Ellie’s life looked for a way to help build understanding and respect across differences. They knew that other children like Ellie are teased, excluded or mistreated based on who they are or who is in their family. They also knew that when children can bring their whole selves to their learning, they are more engaged and successful in school and in life.
The group found Louise Derman Spark’s Anti-Bias Education Theory and knew that it could open the door to important, guided conversations about identities, lived experiences, and family structures that help each child grow in personal pride and respect for others.
Today AMAZEworks reaches thousands of students across the country.
AMAZEworks educational curricula and programs provide opportunities for children and adults to learn about themselves and others through conversations sparked by high quality picture books, persona dolls, and videos. They receive a “mirrors and windows” experience where they see themselves and their lives reflected in classroom materials and a window into the lives of others.
Schools use AMAZEworks to meet equity and social-emotional learning goals.
The teachers who lead these conversations find themselves building closer, more authentic relationships with their students. Through personal reflection, training and support, AMAZEworks provides the means for adults to foster positive changes in their classrooms, buildings, and districts.
Today, AMAZEworks has expanded to provide equity consulting and training in the workplace and in communities. The same principles of equity and belonging help organizations meet their equity goals by creating equitable, inclusive, connected organizational cultures. This work focuses on individual and institutional growth.