Matthew’s Place
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Matthew’s Place

Help Lead a Movement!

by Alyssa Sileo

Do you want to make a difference? Do you want to lead a movement?

Peace First is a nonprofit with over 25 years of experience in youth-led social innovation. We are committed to helping students activate social change in their communities — by giving them real resources to start social justice and service projects right now. We offer $250 mini-grants, mentors, planning tools, and a digital community of young leaders who are changing the world.

We’re looking for Peace First Campus Ambassadors who can grow the movement for justice at your college.

You will join a diverse community of passionate young leaders, receive training and mentorship from Peace First staff, and empower changemakers like yourself to turn ideas into action.

With your leadership, we’ll work to connect, empower, and invest in you and your peers’ projects to create a safer, kinder, better world. -Peace First

The story of how Matthew’s story appeared in my life is one of fateーwhen I found a bracelet that benefited the organization created in his name.

This same magical, perfect timing goes for Peace First’s presence in my journey and advocacy.

One day in January 2017, my dad received an email from a colleague about Peace First’s program and forwarded it to me. The Laramie Project Project was only four months old and I was ready to take any opportunity to learn more about how to make it great.

The LPP is made up of the people who say yes to its mission and heart and elevate it daily, thanks to their own soulful contributions. I’m so blessed to say that my involvement with Peace First has been integral to the development and reinvention of the LPP to become more inclusive, accessible, and effective.

My mantra is that “when you love someone, you see their potential clearly.” The wonderful humans of the Peace First Team show their true and enthusiastic belief in every youth advocate in every interaction. Thanks to them, I feel confident that I can take on any project when I bring thoughtful analysis, persistence, and an attitude of gratitude to it.

The planning tools and steps that Peace First provides their youth advocates with help to identify the root of the issue they are addressing with their project, making it clear which steps must be taken. I now have a better handle on the concepts the LPP has to bring to the forefront of our cast-audience conversations, which will make every event an action to dismantle queerphobia.

When I re-launched my LPP exploration this past January on Peace First, I met a mentor that has rocked my world. Adrian has equipped me with reading, challenges, and guiding principles that have made me a better person and advocate. Their gracious care for the LPP is what has helped me believe the LPP has a veritable power, and that faith in me is so precious, especially during times when my own hope in my advocacy had been dwindling.

The LPP has also been supported by two mini-grants over the past two years. I’ve been able to use this money to purchase four script libraries to extend my efforts of making it easier for classrooms and groups to partake in this project. I’ve also purchased pins to help grow the LPP Family.

After incubating the LPP on this platform for two years, it’s my turn to give back to Peace First and spread the word about this remarkable way youth can grow in their advocate identity by serving as a Campus Ambassador. I’m looking forward to sharing Peace First with my brilliant classmates at Drew University and connect with the other Ambassadors from around the country.

It’s physically, emotionally, and spiritually tough to be an advocate. Something that Peace First has gifted me that will carry through every future project of mine is this sense of joy when it comes to taking action.

The team has encouraged me to stick with my passionーtheatre and arts advocacyーbecause when I am connected to what I love, I see its potential to change the world.

Activism imbued with positivity is something that I now see as valid and compelling. Would you join me in what I like to call #Teenspeed and lend your one-of-a-kind energy to the cause?

Want to learn more? Click HERE for information about the program.

Ready to start? Apply HERE to be an Ambassador for the 2018–2019 school year.

About the Author:

Alyssa Sileo’s Thespian identity comes first and foremost in anything she carries out. As a member of the Drew University Class of 2022, she studies theatre arts, women’s and gender studies, and Spanish. She’s a proud NJ Thespian Alumni and member of their state chapter board. She is the leader of the international performances network The Laramie Project Project, which unites worldwide productions and readings of the acclaimed Tectonic Theater Project play and encourages community-based LGBTQ+ advocacy. Alyssa is humbled to serve as the 2017 Spirit of Matthew Award winner and as a Youth Ambassador for Matthew Shepard Foundation. She believes there is an advocacy platform tucked into every piece of the theatre catalogue and intends to write outreach into the cannon.



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Matthew's Place

Matthew's Place

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