September 28, 2015 Jordyn Samuels Comments
My name is Jordyn Samuels. I am 25 years old and I have been part of Supporting Our Youth for 9 years. At age 16 my first introduction to SOY was through BQY or Black Queer Youth and at age 20 I was introduced to the opening chapter of SOY H.E.A.T. Already majoring in Equity Studies at University of Toronto and facilitating workshops around Equity, sexual health and harm reduction for 4 years thus far, H.E.A.T seemed like the perfect project for me to continue my learning and unlearning and to develop facilitation skills.
I have enjoyed being part of H.E.A.T for the past 5 years (since 2010). I am committed to the ongoing learning processes and I love having access to various platforms where my voice, my words and stories are valued and viewed as an educational tool.
In 2015, I had the privilege of being selected as one of two Outreach Interns for SOY H.E.A.T. Part of my job was to find and invite new LGBTQ identified youth to join the upcoming year of H.E.A.T training and another part of my job was to make ongoing partnerships with agencies and organizations so they may hire H.E.A.T youth for workshops and trainings on an ongoing basis.
Two of my favourite talks have been with Ryerson University and Toronto Public Health. A specific Sexualities course offered at Ryerson has added H.E.A.T to their syllabus and invites H.E.A.T youth to speak to future service providers 3-4 times a year about our own experiences of intersectional oppression while educating folks on appropriate terms and language and on identities they may not be familiar with. I also love facilitating Toronto Public Health trainings because I would love to work at TPH one day. About 3-4 times a year Public Health invites H.E.A.T youth to train current service providers on professional development days. We talk about identity-based terminology, problematic situations encountered on the job and also about LGBTQ-specific barriers we face trying to access social services.
SOY H.E.A.T is an incredible program. It has helped me develop my facilitation skills, meet other socially-engaged folks to organize with and has provided amazing opportunities to teach folks who would normally not have conversations around what we talk about. The internship I'm part of has given me more experience around partnering with agencies, the logistics behind workshop hiring and also an opportunity to connect with and learn about other initiatives in the community through outreach. H.E.A.T has changed my life and has certainly paved out various opportunities that will help shape my future career.