This blog is authored by Isabella He, a high school volunteer and program coordinator for the “FCSN Club at Your School” program.
As the founder and president of the first FCSN club at my high school (Mission San Jose High School), I have seen the great impact that an FCSN club can have. Our club now has 90+ members, with many active members participating in various FCSN programs, even during Shelter-In-Place. As one of our first events, we hosted a training orientation for our members new to FCSN, introducing ~40 new volunteers to FCSN.
Seeing the impact of the MSJ FCSN Club, FCSN’s Director of Volunteer Support Linmei Chiao had the idea of expanding FCSN clubs to high schools and colleges all over the bay area. Since then, we have created a program to mentor/coach volunteers to start their own FCSN clubs with 11+ new clubs in the making.
What is the ‘FCSN Club at Your School’ program?
With experience from my own club formation process, our program provides aspiring club leaders with guidance and mentorship with forming and running their FCSN clubs. Our program hosts bi-weekly meetings to maintain progress on club formation and coordinate activities/events across schools.
Zoom meeting in session for our check-in meetings with representatives from each school club attending.
Forming an FCSN club helps the community of individuals with special needs in FCSN, beyond FCSN, and also fosters the volunteers’ leadership skills.
FCSN school clubs have the following common objectives:
- Promote FCSN programs to students to expand FCSN’s impact and recruit volunteers
- Increase awareness and understanding of neurodiversity in schools
- Coordinate volunteer training and other events to students in a scalable way
- The club’s overarching goal is to support the community of individuals with special needs. All club activities will aim to support this goal.
What have you learned from this process?
The work that our teams have put in and their dedication to FCSN has been amazing to witness. Teams have drafted up 20+ pages of club documents, made presentations for club approval, reached out to teachers and school staff for club advisors, gotten hundreds of student signatures, and more, all in the span of a couple of weeks this summer.
It’s been inspirational and motivating to see, and I’m excited about the future of this program. Cross-school activities and events will be an exciting avenue to pursue.
Testimonial from volunteers in this program and leaders of their own FCSN clubs:
“None of the three of us had any experience of forming a new club before, but FCSN has been incredibly supportive that they have Isabella He from MSJ’s FCSN club helping us basically every step of the way; we’ve asked her so many questions that we otherwise wouldn’t know where to turn to. We don’t see our inexperience as a disadvantage; we feel that it will motivate us to listen, to learn, and to experiment what will work in our own school — and it could actually be a strength of our team…we hope [our school] will be made a few more steps closer to being an inclusive community.” – Isabelle Hsu, Sean Lin, and Hannah Wilson from Irvington High School’s FCSN Club team
If you are a volunteer interested in joining our program and starting an FCSN club at your own school, please email firstname.lastname@example.org