Ari Varona

What skills and expertise do you bring to the team?

After studying Film Production at Miami Dade College for two years, I’ve gained depth knowledge about filmmaking such as video editing, shooting and story telling through the lens. Having produced several short films in the past has given me the ability to help provide my own insight on what can work best when filming individuals telling their stories and experiences behind the camera.

What do you find most rewarding about your internship?

The opportunity to work in an environment where I’m surrounded by many determined and passionate individuals has been the most rewarding part of the my internship thus far. Aside from being able to practice my craft and gain insight on the mission that the YES Institute is working towards, it’s been quite an experience to be able to be work in a place where I can be myself freely.

What has YES Institute done that you’re particularly proud of?

Growing up, I didn’t have nearly as much as the knowledge that I do now based on my own experience, both pleasant and unpleasant. I admire the fact that the YES Institute is passionate about educating others because I believe they’re saving lives.

Name a peak experience in your life. What happened?

When I was in high school, I felt very excluded and out of place. I was struggling to make it day by day. I was hospitalized for suicidal ideation and harming myself, and got a glimpse of how my struggles were affecting those around me. I knew I had to get better, and since then I’ve been putting my mental health first. The experience shaped me into the person I am now.

Before today I felt only confusion or frustration towards gay and transgender people. Now I feel compassion.

Human Resources Manager, University of Miami

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