Diversity Awareness Initiative for Students (DAIS) was founded in 1999 by Camar Robinson (Dalton School), Katiria Calderon (Marymount School of New York), Natalya Davis (The Chapin School), and Kimberly Marable (Packer Collegiate Institute) with the help of a number of students from all over the greater New York City area. Modeled after its predecessor, the Diversity Resource Collaborative, the four students spearheaded efforts towards planning what would be the annual Multicultural Student Leadership Conference. In the following year, the students expanded the organization to include monthly meetings where students not only discussed issues of diversity and civil rights, but honed their facilitation and leadership skills, and created bonds with students from other schools.
Eighteen years later, DAIS is still going strong with members hailing from all five boroughs of New York City, Westchester County, and Connecticut. Monthly meeting and conference attendance has flourished. DAIS has worked with more than 10,000 students. Students have brought what they have learned from their peers, back to their own schools, hosting Community Engagement/Diversity Days and a variety of other programs that allow fellow students, faculty, parents, and administration to help maintain an environment of diversity and understanding.
With adult guidance and supervision, everything about DAIS is, and continues to be student run!