September 28, 2015 Markus (Star) Harwood-Jones Comments
Working with SOY HEAT has been an enriching and empowering experience!
Growing our social media presence, connecting with new organizations, following up with past partners, and helping get the word out to other LGBTQ* youth, I feel like I've really put my heart into the work and I have already seen the results begin to play out. With a great new HEAT training group and helping plan speaking engagements for the existing graduates, I can see the direct effects of my labour and the positive impacts it will have on the SOY community. I have been able to develop my own skills while also benefiting a group that I care about, and directly empowering other LGBTQ* youth by connecting them with the program.
However, the best part about this internship was not the experience or skills development, but the people. Going into work feeling excited to see my coworkers, doing projects at my own speed and ability, and working with friends on endeavors we really believe in, all of these things are what have made the office and the work positive and enriching. Each day, I felt like we had done so much, but that we had so much more ahead. I still am working with HEAT to follow these visions, and when the internship is over I will continue to be a part of HEAT in other ways, knowing that I helped make a difference in this community which will continue to make a difference in so many others.
I am so thankful to have participated in this opportunity, and I hope similar ones can be shared with other youth at SOY. I believe that developing community organizations should always be grounded in their own community, and by hiring members of HEAT we were able to do just that. I will treasure my time as a SOY HEAT intern in my heart, as my spirit continues to dream and create beautiful, just, and liberating futures for all of us.