Hi, Emily here with another graduating senior profile! Jojo Thayer is from Tarrytown, New York and attended Sleepy Hollow High School.
Jojo’s mom saw an ad in the Hudson Independent and told Jojo that she should apply to the program when she was a freshman in high school. Like me, Jojo participated in Activating Leadership (AL) the summer before her sophomore year. For Jojo, AL helped her focus on who she was, her strengths and weaknesses, and how to love herself. The first year program was crucial to being able to make connections with other people for Jojo. The program itself and the people she was exposed to were incredibly inspiring. Jojo and I were in different AL sessions, but I vividly remember a lunch during my August session and Jojo coming to visit after finishing her July session. Jojo was so friendly while talking to us about school, EFLI, and her experiences and I was really excited when I found out that Jojo and I would be spending our second summer together.
During our second year, we were both a part of the same group addressing societal issues faced by teenagers using social media. I worked with Jojo for three weeks and really got to know her. The following summer we both worked together as interns on the Drishti journal. Over the years, Jojo has become a really close friend of mine. I admire her courageous and openness in almost every situation. She is incredibly passionate and eager to make change in the world.
Jojo has described the retreats as her favorite element of the EFLI experience. These retreats allow us to connect on a deeper level with other participants, and the space is always new and amazing. This past year we did a retreat at the Hawthorne Valley Farms. Watching Jojo be immersed in nature was so interesting to watch. It was lovely to see her connect to the farms and watch her become “Farmer Jo.”
Every year has been challenging because the environment of EFLI is so different from what Jojo has been exposed to on a daily basis for most of the year, Jojo has said. However, once she gets into the flow of it, the space makes her feel inspired and productive. Jojo has pursued leadership outside of the summer program while being the co-chair of EFLI's Youth Ambassador Board (YAB). Through this experience she has helped initiate many YAB activities and has also done an internship with EFLI so she can continue to work with the program throughout the year. As an intern, Jojo has interviewed prospective participants, led informational sessions at school and completed research for the program. Throughout the summer of 2014, Jojo worked with EFLI as a fellow. Through her experiences at EFLI, Jojo has learned that her weaknesses do not have to bring her down. Instead, they can be turned into strengths.
Jojo will be attended the State University of New York at Brockport in the fall. Jojo has always been interested in English and psychology and will be pursuing a teaching career through an English major. Outside of school, Jojo loves to read, write, go on Netflix, hang out with her friends, and work. During college Jojo hopes to get involved in various clubs in a leadership position, LGTB clubs, and to continue to find outlets for her love of writing. Jojo is most looking forward to meeting new people in college, making new friends, and expanding her knowledge.
Jojo knows she will take the knowledge she gained throughout her four years with EFLI about how to both affect and effectively carry out change with her beyond her high school years.