By Dina Wilcox

dinawWindows of Opportunity (WOO)—a little not-for-profit with a huge heart and commitment to teens—sponsored its 9th annual DREAM OUT LOUD conference at St. John’s University on March 1st. I was honored to be the first speaker of the day. As always, the young people were amazing, so responsive, so kind, and so present.

As I have many times in the past 20 years, I told my story of falling in love and getting caught in the AIDS epidemic. Along the way, I injected some brain science to show how powerful we are, and what’s really going on with our feelings and emotions. As I always do, I told them how young people—the first groups I met when I started talking—saved my life with their great generosity of listening. They responded, as teens always do, with a tremendous outpouring of love—one young woman even invited me to come out with her and her friends!

Please check out WOO’s website——and consider supporting their efforts in some way. Someone donated a church building in Queens, and they’re turning it into a safe space for fun and learning. Their peer educators teach leadership skills and offer groups on every challenge young people are confronting today: eating disorders, addictions, anger, violence, HIV prevention and more. They’ve even got an annual “SHORT STACK” fashion show fund-raiser, a glam night for teens whose beautiful bodies don’t fit the narrow definition for industry models. Hal Eisenberg is the creator of Windows of Opportunity, and his commitment and energy are boundless.