Decatur students form Safe Space Club as a way to connect


Six Decatur High School students have teamed up to lead Safe Space Club for the 2020-2021 school year. The club will focus on developing a non-judgemental environment through group discussions on a variety of topics.

Junior Ana Villavasso is the student supervisor for the club. She came up with the idea during her freshman year, but “needed quarantine to give me that push.”

“I’ve always been an advocate for [discussing] teenage emotions,” Villavasso said. “Sometimes going to adults can be a lot of pressure, and I remember relying on my friends when I needed someone to talk to. I want the opportunity for everyone else to talk about what’s bothering them to other people that are going through the same thing.”

Safe Space Club will be held virtually over Google Meet at the beginning of the year for safety reasons. The six co-supervisors have plans to meet in person as a small group for organization purposes. The other co-supervisors of the club are juniors Zuri Murph, Kaya Desai and Jake Cooper, and seniors Miles Havard and Kriston Esnard, and the teacher sponsor is Erica Craig from the Student Center.

However, Villavasso has plans for how the meetings will be conducted if and when they return to an in-person environment.

“During normal school, if it was 15-20 of us, we would ask if anyone needs anything to talk about, and if it’s pertinent then we would talk about that,” Villavasso said.

If the club membership increased further, they would split up into small-group discussions, each held by one or two co-supervisors.

Cooper sees his role in the club as a mixture of “leading by example” and facilitating the discussions during the meetings.

“If people hear us talk about personal matters, they’ll feel a lot more comfortable opening up to us as well,” Cooper said.

While the main focus is on members connecting around their emotions, the conversation topics are likely to range based on members’ needs and desires. “We can be talking about school lunch one day, and homophobia and racism the next,” Villavasso said. 

Cooper thinks that people will want to join the club because of their innate want to be  welcomed and comfortable and to have fun, whether that’s through deep or light hearted conversations. 

“Maybe we’ll play some games like “Would You Rather”, just so that we’re not so deep all the time,” Cooper said. “Having fun is a big way of socializing and connecting with your peers.”