Meet MVP Jerry May
The Jewish Community Center of Greater Pittsburgh–in partnership with FISA Foundation and the Heinz Endowments–has been pleased to offer Mentors in Violence Prevention (MVP), a leadership training program for men committed to integrating domestic and sexual violence prevention strategies into their organizations’ work. This post is part of a series of articles showcasing the members and their work in their communities.
Jerry May, a middle school history and robotics teacher at St. Edmund’s Academy, has long been aware of the ways in which stereotypical gender norms can negatively impact kids. Eager to address these issues with his students, Jerry recently participated in the Mentors in Violence Prevention (MVP) program to learn new strategies to engage his students.
He calls the program, “one of the best things I’ve done as an educator.” Jerry began to implement the tools, conversation pieces and role playing scenarios he learned in the MVP training in his classroom. He says the program is impactful because it provides a safe space for kids to talk about these issues and gives them the means to be more than a bystander when they observe language or behavior that is harassing or perpetuates harmful gender norms.
Still, Jerry wanted to have a bigger impact on his school community, so he formed a gender empowerment committee at St. Edmund’s to address these issues. The group recently held a half-day retreat for middle school students and teachers on media literacy and empowerment. “I can help to create a culture in my school that says ‘no’ to harmful gender norms that the larger culture pushes down on us,” Jerry said.
Photography by Brian Cohen