Please join us in celebrating Matisse and Somer! These two wonderful people became SPAN volunteers in June 2015. They completed our 44-hour training and were immediately active in our Peers Building Justice Program. Somer and Matisse have been a great support for the Training Institute, contributing lots of good insight to the group, helping with logistics and set up, food, agenda planning, creativity and general silliness. We would not have been able to pull of the fall PBJ retreat to the Colorado 9to25 Youth Summit with out them! Thank you both so much!
Tell me a little about your background – where you’re from, family, work/education experience, anything you’d like to share here, really.
SS: I graduated in December 2015 from CU Boulder with a BA in international affairs and minors in Spanish and leadership. I’m originally from Atlanta but I’ve also lived in Rhode Island and Spain, where I worked as a nanny and learned Spanish. Now I’m working as a preschool teacher and a barista and hope to continue pursuing social justice work in the Boulder community. I’m passionate about working with children and youth through democratic models of education. In my free time I bake, hangout at my co-op with my 15 housemates and obsessively check the puppy adoption website at the Boulder Humane Society.
MR: I’m from San Diego where I grew up in a grungy beach town with lots of character. I am the oldest of four kids, though the younger two are a good twenty-three years younger than me. I just graduated from CU Boulder with a degree in Ethnic Studies and Social Justice and am figuring out what comes next.
What has been your favorite part of volunteering with SPAN?
SS: My favorite part of volunteering at SPAN has been the opportunity to work the high schoolers in the Training Institute for Peers Building Justice. They are motivated and passionate and I have seen how profoundly they can make an impact when they have a space to be heard and tools to work against systems of violence. I’m totally in awe of all of them and really grateful to be a part of their work.
MR: My favorite part of volunteering with SPAN so far has been getting to discuss brainstorm, and troubleshoot the design of PBJ Training Institute meetings so that they are youth-led, grounded in social justice, and based on our community’s own experiences.
Why is social justice work important to you?
SS: Social justice work is important to me because I believe that injustice and violence can be combatted through collaboration and building strong communities. I think that by examining not only the world around us, but also ourselves and the stake we have in creating change, we can make a conscious and effective impact in our communities.
MR: Social Justice work is important to me because I realize how insidious oppression is in pretty much everything: the way institutions operate, peoples’ opportunity and mobility, the way we see ourselves, the way people treat each other.
Tell me a story about yourself, but only using SIX WORDS (no more, no less).
SS: Running fast sidewalk crack adios tooth.
MR: ‘Twere fairy nests in my hair.
Where is your favorite place?
SS: My favorite place is my grandparent’s house in Pennsylvania, it’s in the countryside and there are miles and miles rolling hay fields and unexplored forests. There is an old barn, lots of horses and a small pond where we have picnics. Also fun fact: If you’ve seen the movie Marley and Me, the end of it was filmed on their land!
MR: My favorite place is called Angel Ridge, a high tundra spot on Mt. Evans I have camped at many times. It’s surrounded by stunted, mangled pine trees.
What is your favorite sound?
SS: The squealing/whimpering sound my dog makes when she’s excited that I’m home is the best one of all.
MR: My favorite sound is baby giggles.