JAMIE - Reproductive Health Educator, Morris Heights School-Based Health Center in the Bronx
Hometown: Glen Head, NY
Why do you aspire to serve?
I’ve always been interested in empowering people who are ‘othered’ in our society, especially around such crucial yet taboo topics like sex and sexuality. I want to use my privilege to better the world around me and give some power back to people oppressed every day by racism, sexism, classism, and heterosexism.
Why did you pick NYC or Upstate NY as your location of service?
New York City is home to some of the hugest disparities in America… Manhattan, one of the richest places in the country, is literally next to the Bronx, one of the poorest places in the country. It’s ridiculous and Bronx urban youth deserve the same respect and services as any other youth. Also, spreading love IS the Brooklyn way, so I felt obligated to serve in one of the best cities in the world.
What have you gained from your AmeriCorps experience thus far?
Bronx youth slang, always important. Learning how to navigate the rollercoaster ride that is a community health center, especially one that’s entwined in the politics of a NYC public school. Most importantly, forming bonds with so many awesome kids and seeing firsthand how they are affected by these systems of oppression and shame. It motivates me to keep working and learning to fight these systems.
How do you spend your free time?
I read far more pop culture/feminist/queer blogs than anyone ever should. I travel far for good food and an occasional show, I stay close for dive bars and dance parties. Either way, always with good friends.
Share a favorite hobby/hobbies or interest of yours.
I’m an amateur zine maker and I collect bad baseball team t-shirts, which is hard because I don’t watch that much baseball.
Personal web site, blog, or a link to the web site of somewhere you volunteer in addition to your site.
Harm reduction is crazy important when it comes to working with underserved populations, and the Lower East Side Harm Reduction Center (www.leshrc.org) does amazing work around safer sex, safer drug use, and providing resources for the homeless.
What are your plans after your year of service?
Next year I will be starting a PhD program in Psychology so I can continue to nerd out and do research to help reduce the sexual health disparities of marginalized youth!