Since Krystal Bydonne’s workshop in 2014 “ignited the flame” of leadership in her, she has dedicated her education and career to service. Currently a graduate student in Urban Policy & Leadership and Nonprofit Management at Hunter College, she plans to spend 10 months next year leading hurricane relief efforts in Puerto Rico as a volunteer coordinator for AmeriCorps. We met with Krystal to talk about her powerful will to create change in her community through a career dedicated to service.
Q: How do you feel like your career and your education have empowered you to support your own community?
Krystal: I went to school for Journalism and African American Studies in undergrad and I’m currently in school for Urban Policy and Leadership with a concentration in Nonprofit Management. I’m able to help non-profits with their goals, which also aligns with my being able to serve as many communities as possible.
Currently, Krystal cares for communities close to home. A New York City native, Krystal works on Lower East Side coordinating afterschool programs for low-income students.
Krystal: I work at a community center with different community events… whether it’s actually taking care of kids, or providing them with an artistic outlet. We provide them with a platform to learn about environmental justice and sustainability. There’s also an emergency food distribution where we’re able to directly give healthy foods to the people of the community.
Her time as an alumna leader at PeerForward workshops taught Krystal always to ask herself, “How can I help ignite other people to be the leaders they may want to be?”
Q: what is one way that PeerForward has shown you that you have the power to bring change in your community?
Krystal: In my youth educator role and in a lot of leadership roles, I bring in the care that PeerForward has shown me and the effectiveness that I’ve had to have in my PeerForward roles. It led to me being a better leader and not being shy about checking in on how to be a better leader. I don’t see it as ‘I’m a great leader, this is the endpoint’, but ‘I’m a great leader, how can I be better?’. How can I help ignite other people to be the leaders they want to be? Or see it in other people, the leaders that they might not see that they are.
Krystal is dedicated to using her power as a leader in service to help others find their own superpowers. She says, “I encourage Peer Leaders so they can encourage other people.”
PeerForward needs your support to ensure promising leaders like Krystal get the education and training they need to make lasting community impacts and guide the next generation forward. With your contribution, we can strengthen support and opportunity for PeerForward alumni.