From the time he was at Wheaton, Marlon Ramdehal ’03 has set out to be an agent of change. Living by the adage: “Do all you can with what you have, in the time you have, in the place you are,” Ramdehal is a program coordinator at the nonprofit Teen Empowerment in Somerville, Mass. There, he trains at-risk youth to find creative ways to address the issues—such as drugs, sexual assault, gang violence and police relations—affecting their community. The young people then share their personal experiences, connected to an issue, through original songs, rap, poetry/spoken word, acting and dance. His work with the organization began when he volunteered with Teen Empowerment as a sophomore in college. It was a natural extension for Ramdehal, who was a resident assistant at Wheaton and active in student groups on campus that were aimed at building social and academic support networks. “Wheaton provided me with an amazing experience both inside and outside the classroom,” he says. “Classes were connected to real-world issues and current events. Outside the classroom, I felt empowered to be a leader in whichever way I chose.” Carrying that spirit into his work with Teen Empowerment, Ramdehal understands the impact of building positive connections between youth and their community. “It’s rewarding to see hope and faith restored in young people who are struggling to survive in very vicious cycles of crime, violence and an oppressive society.”
Conor Landenberger ’08 was among six members from Providence-based Big Nazo, the “intergalactic creature troupe” that gave several performances at the Winter Olympics in Vancouver in February. You can learn more about Big Nazo’s unique creatures and see video from their performances at bignazo.com.