Operation Breaking Stereotypes (OBS) is a non-profit, service-based organization working with schools in Maine and New York City to help students address ethnic, socio-economic, gender, and racial stereotypes through writing, reading, music, photography, and personal connections. Since our founding in 2002, OBS has worked with more than 3500 Maine, Boston, and New York City middle and high school students, facilitating exchanges between diverse groups of learners.
OBS exchanges between schools in separate states typically involve a long weekend visit to the host community where students live with families, attend school, and connect with the community. For OBS exchanges within a state, students typically visit each other’s schools and communities for day-long or overnight exchanges. OBS assists in planning the exchanges, locating partner schools, and providing workshops and materials before, during and after the exchanges. OBS is also happy to provide training and consultation to educators who wish to conduct their own exchanges.
While many programs attempt to build understanding and connections across international lines, OBS promotes understanding of differences within our own country between students who may not have the resources or time to commit to more expensive or longer programs. We reach the students who are least likely to move beyond their neighborhood to a greater understanding of “the other.”