Today we’re featuring one of our amazing educators: George Zerante.
George has been with us since 2008 and he is not only one of our senior educators but he also serves as the assistant manager of educator delivery and development at Catharsis Productions.
CP – What is your favorite part about working at Catharsis Productions?
George – My favorite part about working with Catharsis is of course the whole changing the world for the better aspect of the job. I know that sounds cliché, but seriously though. How badass is that? I get to travel the globe, fighting rape culture with amazing female partners. Sometimes when travel gets super stressful or I had a particularly tough audience, I just remind myself how lucky I am to do what I do with the stellar people I get to do it with.
CP – What is a common misconception people have about the topics you teach?
George – Honestly, I think often times when some of our audiences are told to come to our presentations, they assume it’s going to be a boring, mind numbing experience. Like it’s going to be a lecture on how not to rape. Sometimes they sit there all salty, just hoping for the show to start so they can get out of there as fast as possible. However, once we run on stage and start engaging with them and being all hilarious, you can feel the entire mood shifts in the room. They start cracking up and before you know it they are openly sharing some really insightful and brilliant stuff and they don’t want the conversation to end.
CP –Tell us something new that you have learned since you’ve been working as an educator for Catharsis Productions
George – I learned that there are a lot of wonderful people in this country that truly care about society and want to help it, but they don’t necessarily know where or how to start. I learned that initiating an open and honest conversation about social change can really activate the best in people.
CP –What’s most surprising to you about your work as an educator?
George – I’m surprised by the lack of quality Sex Education in the majority of America’s middle schools and high schools. My opinion is that we are doing the next generation a huge disservice by not teaching better sex education at younger ages. Right now I feel the majority of Sex Ed is abstinence based on fear mongering, like “if you have sex you’ll catch an STD or you’ll get pregnant and ruin your future.” Very rarely do pre-teens/teenagers get to have in depth conversations about consent or healthy relationships before they get to college. I know parents don’t want to believe that their sons and daughters are not sexually active yet at those ages, but for a lot of them it’s just not true. I can’t tell you how many parents come up to me after an adult military show and ask me why are we not at that instillation’s middle school or high school. I wish more high schools knew about us, because I truly believe we could make a huge difference.
CP – Any curious facts about you?
George – I love Chicago. I think it’s the best city in the world. I love the Bears. I love the Cubs. I have a puppy, Denzel Washington, obviously named after my favorite actor. If I had to choose a last meal it would be sushi, a Portillo’s beef sandwich, and a side of my nana’s pasta with meat sauce.
Catharsis Productions' mission is to change the world by producing innovative, accessible and research-supported programming that challenges oppressive attitudes and shifts behavior.