By Ameesia Marold
The face of Wellness at Galileo, Ms. Naomi Forsburg, recently won the California Teachers Association Leadership in Lesbian and Gay Human Rights Award. Galileo school nurse, Ms. Susan Kitchell, nominated Naomi for the award.
Nurse Kitchell points to a number of reasons why Naomi was deserving of the award. Among those reasons listed were, Naomi’s inviting nature and open energy, which gives students the opportunity to share their lives with her. Her advice is always impactful and she can address a wide-ranging number of issues in a student’s life.
Furthermore, this year Naomi has played a huge role in creating programs for LGBTQ youth. These include young men’s health groups, gay youth, the “Q Group” support groups, and led to the establishment of the gender neutral bathroom.
Naomi also implemented a curriculum for an LGBTQ support group that meets for 13 weeks each semester. Her group is a model that has been followed throughout the district by many high schools.
Naomi also oversees a grant-funded Young Men’s Health Group which serves the purpose of teaching about health services in our community. At Galileo, she has coordinated many annual school-wide events such as “Pink Tsunami” and “Love Fest”.
Part of the reason Naomi is so passionate about her work at Galileo is because she relates personally to what some of the students are going through. “I am part of the community and I identify as lesbian. I remember trying to figure out my sexuality and how confusing it can be. How hard it is to figure out for your own self who you are, trying to explain it to people around you,” Naomi explains.
Naomi isn’t content with just the programs she has started, but also has plans for the future, regarding education, “The youth group that Aaron (a Wellness Counselor) and I run is going to continue and we will be improving the curriculum. I also just applied to graduate school to become a social worker.”
Many students appreciate all of the hard work that Naomi does at Wellness. Junior, Ekayla Wong said, “I think she is nice and has good advice, she tries to understand you the best she can. She always gives you a little guide to having a good day if you are having a bad one.”
“She’s really nice and she always gives me helpful advice”, added senior Ady Granados.
Naomi found out that she won the award over the phone. “I got a phone call and the message was cutting in and out. Three days later they called my cell phone and told me,” she says. Naomi has yet to receive the award. “The award ceremony is two weeks, I’ll find out at the ceremony what my award is.”
The CTA Human Rights Awards Program was adopted by the CTA State Council of Education in October 1984. The goal of the Awards Program is to promote the development of programs for the advancement and protection of human and civil rights within the Association.