By Alexander Aspuru
Gender and orientation slurs were rampant at the Catholic high school I attended. Teachers and students alike were both “the bully” and “the bullied.” My school was hesitant to talk about this “type of bullying” despite the fact that it happened on a daily basis. After graduating I got involved at YES Institute, hoping to discover what was at the root of these slurs, and how to unite the community in addressing these harmful behaviors.
As an intern, I’m both a steward and student. As a steward, I feel empowered working for a purpose larger than myself. Whether I’m helping lead community dialogues (fun) or inputting data (not as fun), I’m satisfied knowing that everything I do brings us closer to creating a community where kids are safe from bullying and violence.
I’ve gained the most out of my internship by being a student, taking all of the courses and developing my communication skills. I’ve learned how to support people whose experience doesn’t fit neatly into a box, have meaningful discussions with my family about gender and orientation, and through the power of communication and generosity, become a better partner, son, and friend. Even after my internship, I will continue to champion youth safety and dialogue for the rest of my life.
Find out more about internship and volunteer opportunities! 305-663-7195 or yesinstitute.org