Each fall at VOX’s Homecoming event, we honor the latest inductees into the VOX Hall of Fame. This year we are excited to celebrate VOX alum Deontez Wimbley (pictured above doing one of our famous VOX energizers!). Read on to learn more about Deontez’s time at VOX and what he’s up to now.
When and why did you join VOX?
I joined VOX my freshman year of high school (fall of 2007). VOX had a summer internship program (Raise Your Voice) and I applied for that but did not get accepted. However, they said I could participate in the fall, so I joined because I wanted to write. Deontez went to Columbia High School for 9th and 10th grade and graduated from Redan High School.
What’s your favorite memory from VOX during your time as a teen?
Distribution parties [back in the day, VOXers would have distribution parties to mail the print editions out], all of the go-arounds and energizers, especially Big Wind Blows, and trash parties [on Saturdays at VOX, we have to take the trash down to the dumpster in the loading dock]. And After Five-ing – when we left VOX at 5pm on Saturdays, we would spend the rest of the evening walking around downtown Atlanta and Five Points (in case anyone was wondering, After Five-ing was not an official VOX program!).
What’s a favorite article you wrote at VOX?
One of my first articles I wrote as a VOX teen was on growing up without a father (“Father’s Absence to God’s Presence”). Click here to read Deontez’s article.
What are you up to now and how do you stay connected to VOX?
I am the Community Health Educator and Teen Action Group Coordinator for Planned Parenthood Southeast – that’s my day job, and my evening job, and my weekend job! I’m excited to be in the youth development field, just like VOX. VOX has facilitated self-expression workshops for the Teen Action Group, and this year both Planned Parenthood Southeast and VOX are Grand Marshals for the 2017 PRIDE Parade.
Why is VOX important for teens?
It gives teens power – a power that is often taken away from them because teens aren’t usually taken seriously or considered to know a lot. VOX says to teens: you are heard, you are important, you are seen and we want you to have a platform to express yourself.
Why is VOX important for the entire community?
It gives the community an opportunity to listen.
How do you look forward to being involved with VOX in the future?
I look forward to continuing to work with teens in my professional life and I will always make sure the teens that I work with are connected to VOX. I look forward to continuing to give to VOX financially, continuing to read VOX and continuing to volunteer here.
What three words would you use to describe VOX?
Relevant, vital, engaged
Why is VOX necessary?
VOX is really the only space that I know of that allows teens to truly raise their voices as well as the voices of their peers in an unadulterated, unfiltered way. VOX is necessary because I can’t think of anywhere else where the mission is entirely built on creating an intentional space devoted to teens and their voice.
Join us on Saturday, October 21 as we celebrate Deontez at our 2017 Homecoming event! Details and tickets available here.