What's your role at Odyssey Youth Movement?
I've been at Odyssey for just over 4.5 years and currently serve as the Director of Advocacy and Education. My primary role is to facilitate the programs in the drop in center including the recruitment and training of volunteer mentors. I also provide training out in the community and represent Odyssey at tabling events.
What inspired you to work at OYM?
Before working at Odyssey, I came in as a community member to provide a workshop to the youth. This was my introduction to the organization and inspired me to apply when the position opened up.
What is your favorite thing about working with Odyssey?
Watching the youth learn and grow. Providing programs that create those "Ah Ha!" moments is huge for me. For example, during safer sex programs, when they get what's going on in their body. When they understand the anatomy, it gives them agency. Knowing what's going on in their body, including all the variations of normal, and seeing them become more comfortable is huge.
What occupies your time outside of OYM?
Hiking, I live on a property that allows me to walk out my back door and enjoy a hike of any length I'd like. I also enjoy spending time with my dogs and family. When I can fit it in, I enjoy playing table top role playing games, cause I'm a nerd.
What do you want to be when you grow up?
I've always wanted to be in occupations that help and support people. I know it sounds cheesy, but I'm actually already doing my dream job.
If you could give your high school self one piece of advice, what would it be?
Don't worry about others' expectations so much. Do what you're doing, it's fine.
What is one thing you want to make sure the world knows about Odyssey?
The youth we serve are seen as high risk or being in trouble or crisis a lot. I want people to know how funny they are, resilient they are, how resourceful they are. They don't need to ask me for stuff. Their bounce-back is frequently amazing to me, and they're funny as hell, they crack me up.
What I've heard from our volunteer mentors and those we train out in the community is, yes, we are a youth serving organization but everyone who comes into contact with OYM experiences the acceptance we want throughout the community. Odyssey's mission is to create and sustain safe spaces for youth, and by doing so we are supporting the same thing throughout the entire community. I know for myself, I've never worked in such an affirming place.
Sevan works as the Director of Advocacy and Education. If you are interested in learning more or contacting staff here at Odyssey, please visit the site HERE.