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May 2017 Entry

Women's Debate Institute

Elizabeth Mendenhall
Baltimore · MD
What is your cause and how will it make the world kinder?

The Women’s Debate Institute’s (WDI) mission is to close the gender gap in competitive debate. Our program encourages young women and gender-non-conforming students to use their voice to advocate for themselves and others, builds a welcoming community, and provides high school students with the skills they need to afford, be admitted to, attend, and succeed in college. WDI pursues our mission by identifying the patterns of behavior that make debate unkind, by teaching community building and consciousness-raising, and by generating a network of celebration and support among marginalized students in debate. Our camp empowers through a range of lectures and activities, including discussions about identity and speaking with confidence.

How will you use the $10k?

All $10,000 will go directly to improving the programs and increasing the reach of the 2017 WDI$5000 – Creation of "Leading with Debate" programA special module at our camp for debaters near the end of their college career who are interested in translating their skills into running for office. Funding would support the acquisition of materials and consultation related to identifying an office, positioning for candidacy, and running a campaign.$3000 – Hiring Specialized FacultyTo advance our curriculum, we want to hire specialized faculty who can teach students about intersectionality and intersectional feminism $2000 – Accessibility FundTo provide on-site child care and/or child care stipends for faculty and students with children.

What impact do you hope to make?

We hope that, with the support of KIND Causes, the Women’s Debate Institute can reverse the attrition of girls and women in the high school and college debate communities, and support the recruitment and retention of gender non-conforming students. We are confident the WDI can be a forum for conversation and interaction. Through the expansion of our programming, the inclusion of expert and experienced faculty, and the extension of truly free camp experience we hope to make a big difference in the lives and experiences of students engaging in the transformative activity of debate. Our "Leading with Debate" program will help WDI make a larger impact, by preparing women and gender non-conforming students for the pursuit of political careers.

Other Details
Women’s Debate Institute
Women’s Debate Institute
Women’s Debate Institute
Women’s Debate Institute

May/June 2017 – Hire specialized staff, accept student applications, and confirm location details (food, lodging, and travel). Disseminate childcare program information to prospective students and staff.
July 2017 – Develop “Leading with Debate” curriculum, acquire necessary resources (literature, activities, consultations)
August 5-9, 2017 – Host the Women’s Debate Institute, including the “Leading with Debate” module, workshops by specialized faculty, and a child care program.

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