Interview with SWOP Organizer Dantay
SWOP organizer Dantay Williams shared about his work with SWOP since 2012. Initially, he was a VOYCE Core Leader. In 2016, Dantay joined Teen REACH where he has worked as an instructor, assistant coordinator, and now program coordinator.
What led you to join SWOP?
What led me to first join SWOP was the after-school program at Gage Park High School called VOYCE. The reason I joined VOYCE was because I heard they do community work and at that time I was looking for ways to get involved in the community. I was tired of just going home and not doing nothing with my life and when I heard that I could take lead in my community and my voice will be heard, I was more than happy to join.
What inspires you in your work?
What inspire me to work is the youth because if we can teach the youth leadership development then there are going to be bigger and better things in the future. To Youth: You Are The future!
What is your vision for your work?
My vision for my work is to let youth know that you don’t have to be famous to be heard. You can start right here in the community. Also, to build more leaders like me.
What values and practices ground your work with youth?
One-to-one conversations because those kinds of interactions build relationships and never stop growing. One thing I practice is mentorship because it’s one thing to show up, but it’s another thing to show up and provide the type of support a young person needs.
How do you make sure the program is driven by youth?
One main thing I do to make sure the program is driven by youth is meeting them halfway so there’s always a time where students must take lead in the program.
Describe a day of your work.
I come in to work and get started on things I know we all can benefit from in the program. We have meetings around youth engagement and about what we can do to involve more youth in everyday activities. Then I head to Morrill Elementary School an hour before programming starts to do a little self-reflection. Once the hour is over it is time to start programming. Our first hour is homework hour where we all sit and take time out our day to do homework. Next is second hour, where we all head downstairs to eat lunch, sometimes during lunch we have small activities or down time. Lastly, for the last hour we provide extra curriculum classes to teach students lifestyle skills.
What other work do you do?
I am the Co-Founder of photography business TR1BE.
What are your hobbies?
Gaming, photography, videography, script writing, acting, going to the gym, playing sports, poetry and rapping.