Peer Leader at High School for Environmental Studies
Transcribed from an audio interview. Responses have been edited for clarity.
I found out about Day One from the RAPP coordinator, Syd. She was in my classroom one day and she was just, like, such good vibes. It was easy for me to trust her, even though I had just met her, and I was able to go into her office and talk to her about what I was going through. She was always supportive about what I was saying and could give me advice. She’s the one who told me I would be perfect for the summer program to become a peer leader.
So I went, and I’ve been having a blast talking about every kind of topic that normally people don’t really talk about. I never really talked about abusive relationships. I’ve always thought abuse was harming someone physically, but then when I really got into it, I was like, “dang, I’ve really been in a lot of abusive relationships.” I feel like now I’m going through this age where I’m just, like, wow, everything that I thought was normal is like really weird.
I feel like this summer, my friends have been like, “Whoa, Klevisa, you’re changing, you’re becoming mature.” Now, I give advice to people and they’re like, “Wow I didn’t think about it like that.” Now that I’m going to be a peer leader, if Sydney feels like I can relate to a topic, she can refer other people to talk to me. I’m a teenager, they’re a teenager — we can connect more easily. It’s not always easy to talk to an adult.
As peer leaders, we have panels. But we don’t always get to speak out into the world. One day I’d like to have something in New York City where we would have the mayor or someone from the government to hear us speak. That’s what would make a movement. Because the more you hear the voices that are going through it, the more that people are like, “Wow.”