Each fall at our Homecoming event, we honor the latest inductees into the VOX Hall of Fame. This year, we are excited to celebrate four members of the VOX community in this way, including Raisa Habersham! She joined VOX as a teen and has remained involved since then – serving as an alumni intern, adult staff member and volunteer. Raisa is pictured above in the middle of the bottom row with other alums at a past Homecoming event. Read on to hear more from Raisa.
How did you get involved with VOX?
A friend at my school, Benjamin E. Mays High School, recommended I write for VOX since I wanted to be a journalist. She kept insisting, but I kept resisting. We spent a lot of time together at school (and outside of school), and I thought joining VOX would ruin our friendship. I eventually joined when she assured me that wouldn’t happen. I joined VOX as an intern with their Raise Your Voice summer program (as it was called then) in 2006. I was a senior at Mays, so I felt like I missed out on a lot of VOX experiences by the time I joined. However, that one year led to many great opportunities my high school paper couldn’t provide career-wise.
What’s your favorite memory from your time at VOX?
My favorite VOX memory was going to an LL Cool J concert at The Tabernacle (and yes, in 2006, LL Cool J was still a thing!). A few VOXers and I saw his tour bus parked outside VOX’s building (which was owned by The Tabernacle) and tried sneaking a glance (or more) of him. When the adult staff realized what we were doing, they offered to reach out to The Tabernacle and secure us tickets. We were front row that night! I remember nearly every single detail of that evening. The shared LL Cool J fandom is something I treasure with girls, now women, who I still love today!
Why is VOX important for teens?
For me, VOX was a stepping stone to my career. For some, it was a creative outlet you didn’t get at school. And for others, VOX was the pot of gold at the end of a rainbow on a rainy day. VOX is important because it fosters a community of love, support, and care for when teens might not feel valued.
Why is VOX important for the community?
VOX saves lives. It’s a therapeutic outlet for teens seeking refuge from the worries the world throws at them. And if you’re not a teen, you get a sneak peek into their universe and the (invisible) weight they carry with them daily. Arguably, VOX allows you to see the other half even when you think you already do.
What’s your hope for VOX’s future?
While I’ve always hoped VOX reaches a national level, part of what makes us great is that we cater to teens on a local level. An institution like VOX provides a voice to the voiceless and a home for the teen searching for his/her/their way. Additionally, I hope the VOX model becomes so well-known that similar organizations in other states use it when creating teen-based after-school programs. But perhaps most of all, I hope VOX is around for at least another 25 years. It’s truly an Atlanta institution, yet a hidden gem.
What three words would you use to describe VOX?
Honest. Necessary. Fun.