I joined DreamYard programs when I was in 5th or 6th grade when they came to my elementary school - P.S/M.S 95- in the Bronx. My journey began with Romeo and Juliet, becoming the lead drummer for the music. I joined the Poetry Slam group in 8th grade and discovered that I had a lot more to offer than I ever thought possible. I wasn’t the greatest student when I was in middle school, but when I heard that DreamYard was opening a high school I knew that was where I had to be.
I joined the DreamYard Preparatory High School and was part of their first class. While I was at DreamYard, I decided to come out as gay student. I thought it would be the beginning of a hard 4 years, but I was never bullied and my class rallied around me when I came out. I was part of almost every theater production and I rejoined the Poetry Slam group again. It was amazing. I was still going through a lot at home and coming to DreamYard where everyone accepted me for who I was really helped me push through my four years. My last two years at DY Prep, I became a dance major. This really changed my perspective on what I was capable of doing as a person. I’ve always been a bigger person and I felt disconnected with the rest of my body. In our dance class, I didn’t feel like that anymore; my teacher Ms. Williams gave me the strength and courage to push myself to become a stronger and braver person. DreamYard Prep was the place where I found my voice and taught me to stand up and look forward instead looking down at my feet all the time.
When I graduated in 2010, I was a little nervous about going out into the world which is why I only lasted a semester at Marist College between the high cost and no focus; I realized that I needed to come home. I started at Monroe College when I came back to the city and I also started interning at the DreamYard Art Center, beginning as a classroom intern and working my way up to an administrative intern by my second year. I was able to work with students as part of the Digital.Me program and discovered the love of working with students and how that made me feel like I was actually doing something worthwhile. This gave me the experience to work at DY Prep, where I am currently the Technology Coordinator.
DreamYard has helped me figure out what I want to do with my life. I’ve been given the chance to give back and change young people's lives like how mine was. I’ve been pushed to grow as a teacher and a student because of the support that I was given by the staff which has felt like a second family when I really needed it. I really don’t know where I would be right now if they did not come to P.S/M.S. 95 all of those years ago.