OK2BU Stories

Youth Story: Pau’laijha

I was lost and depressed, just looking for new friends to share my summer with.

I started coming to The Attic when I was 15. I was lost and depressed, just looking for new friends to share my summer with. As someone who’s shy, coming to The Attic was overwhelming for me. But once I started interacting with the other youth I found myself right at home. I started playing games, joining different groups, and even hanging out with new friends after The Attic would close.

Once that summer was over, I had a second family. And I wanted to be involved with The Attic one hundred percent. That’s when I joined The Attic’s WERQ internship for high school students. I learned so much in those two years – things I could never find anywhere else. I gained knowledge on professionalism and team ethic while also gaining a sense of family. All of these are tools I will use for the rest of my life.

After I graduated high school, though, I found myself lost again, so I went to my safe place to find answers. Up to that point, I hadn’t felt like the challenges my community faced were my problem – I faced enough in my own life. But The Attic gave me a space for my voice to be heard – and when I spoke, I heard in myself a powerful social justice activist. And I was GOOD at it. I joined one of The Attic’s internship programs called Justice League and began to learn more about how different systems affect LGBTQ youth of color. I learned more about our reality as a community of LGBTQ youth of color, and how we have the ability to raise our voices and call for change. With this new knowledge, I’m now an activist every moment of every day – educating my friends, family, anyone who will listen. There’s no turning back.