When I was in the 9th grade I was very shy and bullied on a daily basis. I barely spoke and when I did, it was only to the people who were nice to me. I had this really, really nice math teacher named Mr. McFadden. He told me about The Intersection, and he thought I’d be a good fit. Eventually, I started going to the meetings all the time. In the summer, I went there almost every day because I enjoyed what we were doing. I participated in all the events we had that summer. The first event was called “Books and Barbecue”, where we read to little kids, and ate hot dogs and hamburgers. Our last event was called “Kicks for Cans, when we had kids play games like soccer in patterson park. The twist was that you had to bring in a can of food for admission. It was an amazing experience that helped me find my voice, and become my own person. I met a lot of amazing people here, and met so many open minded friends who really care about the city and want the best for it. This program is hard work, but its amazing.
As a young 8th grader coming into a community where you had to be a sophomore to join, I was in way over my head. But after working on the Maryland Dream Act with the Intersection, I was hooked. I kept showing up at meetings and keeping in contact with the student leaders until Mr. Cohen was forced to give me an application. I quickly realized how insane this dream of being an Intersection student leader was. I was 3 years younger than everyone in the program, I talked the least, I hadn’t had the experiences of a high schooler just yet, so I stood out. But I needed a place to express my political and social views on what was happening around me. For years I have been silenced for being too different, but in The Intersection, we acknowledge those differences and work with them. This program taught me how to understand other’s opinions and develop my own. It taught me how to fight for what I believe is right, the right way. It gave me exposure to so many different people, places, and opportunities that I will cherish forever. There were days where the work was too hard and I wanted to quit, but because the Intersection isn’t just an afterschool program I attend, but also where my second family comes together, I didn’t quit. This program has molded me into the person I am today. I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else.