My name is Thomas Cassidy and I am a Junior at De La Salle North Catholic High School. I serve The CENTER as the Marketing and Outreach Coordinator. Being a part of the CENTER I am given a vast amount of opportunities. Freshman and Sophomore year I was not given the chance to do what I love which is helping people. In my mind I had no community to help, I was not engaged with myself, others or society. I saw problems that I never knew I had the ability and power to fix. I heard about the CENTER countless times from friends and never knew how special it place truly is until I did the myPlace program this past summer. CWSP (Corporate Work Study Program) at my school gave me the chance to work here. The CENTER is different than any place I have ever been. It is an open space that allows me to provide help to those who need it.
The CENTER has brought so many opportunities into my lap. In fact there are too many to be able to take advantage of each one. Everyday I step into the CENTER for any reason I am faced with the fact that I could change something today. The CENTER gives me a sense of community and the ability and platform to help people and make a positive change in my community. I suffer with mental illness off and on and that is one subject that I am very passionate about. Mental Illness is overlooked especially in youth today. I would like to change the way people perceive mental illness and how they treat people suffering with mental illness. My need for social justice was sparked when people on social media would use racism, sexism, homophobia, classism etc as comedy.
What do I want?
I want many things from and for the CENTER and my community. First off I would like to engage Freshman and Sophomore students from the Portland Metro area to not just be involved in their communities, but to have the opportunities that I did not have. I want to grow as an ally and comrade for POC, women, WOC, immigrants and all other people in my community who deserve not just equality but equity. I want to explore the world of voting and find solutions to the lack of youth votes in all elections in the United States. I want to urge people to get involved in politics and their local, federal and national governments. I want to use my common interests to build a larger following for the CENTER. Widen the scope of the CENTER and making it a space where everybody feels welcome to the opportunities they offer is a very important task and goal of mine. I plan to use all resources provided to me to be the best I can be. I want to carry on a space cultivated by brilliant youth and adults from around Portland. I want to bring the CENTER to middle schools to perpetuate the mission of the space as well as social justice work in Portland and the world. I want social justice to become a norm in all schools across Oregon and eventually the whole of the United States. I want to be proud of the work I do as well as the legacy I leave for the next CENTER students and youth. I want to leave a mark on my community that will last long after I’m gone. I expect to have achieve these goals within 2 years and I plan to keep the CENTER in my life for a very long time. The most unlikely yet probable goal of mine is to expand the CENTER physically to cities in America who are in need of a cultural and empowerment hub. As I grow with the CENTER I will be who I need to be for those who need me.