Peer Leader at High School for Service and Learning at Erasmus
Transcribed from an audio interview. Responses have been edited for clarity.
As one of the peer leaders at HSSL, I give workshops, sometimes at other schools, to inform students and get feedback on a wide range of stuff, including healthy relationships, pronouns, and more. Just last week we went to a school in Queens. We had workshops in I think 4 different classes, and I did it with two other students — 2 other peer leaders. The main topic was toxic and abusive relationships, and how other students felt about it.
I’m in 11th grade, and I got involved with RAPP [the Relationship Abuse Prevention Program] last year. I remember I was just looking for my friend, and I found out they were in this classroom, and I just came and I sat down. I heard what they were talking about and I got interested.
This summer, I participated in SPLI [the Summer Peer Leadership Institute], and I would gladly do it again if they would have me. It was fun. I don’t know how everybody else saw it, but I kind of saw it as a group therapy type thing. Everyone was just so open to learning about different things. I already knew about [using people’s personal] pronouns and stuff, but being a peer leader has broadened my horizons about how people really have thought about it. Like I didn’t know there was so much to it. And I learned so much more about toxic and abusive relationships.
If more students get involved, it would make our community a better place. If everybody’s informed, then there would be less bigotry and stuff like that. Plus, if they get involved, then you can involve other students, like how I got involved because of my friends. When I went to the other schools, at first, they were not super interested to join the conversation, but by the time we left they were excited about it.
I just want Day One to involve a lot more people and grow as an organization. The more information that other students have, the better it will be.