Let's Help DiCo Build The Brooklyn Debate League

From DiCo:

The Speech and Debate community is notorious for gatekeeping. Most tournaments, summer camps, and leagues charge exorbitant fees for students to participate. This allows only certain voices to be heard in the Speech & Debate community. The community is dominated by private schools, parochial schools, and rich kids. BDL is safe space for all kids: queer and trans children, kids of color, kids from all income brackets, kids who are national champions and kids who have no experience in Speech and Debate. No matter what their story, we’re here to help them tell it. Parents are invited to make a donation that feels right to them, but no child will ever be turned away because of inability to pay.

The Brooklyn Debate League had a record number of students participate this year. We offered weekly programming every Monday night and sometimes we had 80+ kids compete at our tournaments. We had a record number of alumni coaches this year (ten of them) come to each week to run practice for a record number of categories. We have a record number of kids signed up already for our summer camp (over 40 kids) which means I'll need to hire a record number of summer coaches. That's all great and....we are not even breaking even right now. I have poured in about $6000 of my own money to keep our head above water this year. At this rate, my savings will run out in the next year or so.  

If we had the funds,  I would love to target 5-10 local public schools each semester and help them build a team from scratch by running on-site practices and giving student leaders (and ideally a faculty advisor) the tools they need to start a program. I'd also love to develop outreach programs in middle schools. I'd also love to build an outreach program specifically for youth who have been incarcerated.

And finally, my long-term pipe dream: Being a Speech & Debate coach is an unsustainable job. People teach full time, stay late on weekdays to run practices, and work every weekend taking kids to tournaments. I want to build a fellowship program where we partner with schools to provide coaches who are working on a full-time schedule tailored to Speech & Debate (e.g., teaching debate courses during the day and running after-school practices 11am-6pm Wednesday, Thursday, Friday; taking kids to tournaments on Saturday and Sunday) What if we laid down the infrastructure to get debate coaches into classrooms in high-need schools and found a way to compensate the teachers so that districts wouldn't have to worry about where the money came from. We could completely change the landscape of Speech & Debate here in NYC and beyond.
 
I'm incredibly grateful to everyone who has read and commented on our story. I truly believe that Speech and Debate could be one of the most important tools for fighting inequity in schools, and my goal is to increase access as much as possible. Thank you to everyone who decides to support BDL, so we can take one step closer to this mission. 


Note: DPAC is a 501c3 aligned with BDL, and will be passing 100 percent of donations to BDL.
 
 
 
 

Organizer

Brandon Stanton 
Organizer
New York, NY
Discovering Potential through Arts Creativity Inc 
Registered nonprofit
Donations are typically 100% tax deductible in the US.