Imagine being 16 and already making a difference in the world. That’s the story of Devaun Herzog. As a City High Junior, Devaun explored a dual internship at the Women’s Center & Shelter of Greater Pittsburgh and 3E Now, a non-profit organization dedicated to preventing domestic violence in the first place.
For this 3.1 GPA student, here was an opportunity to explore psychology as his field of choice. But in actuality, he found he had skills in counseling as well. “When I first went into it, I wanted to go into the field of psychology.” Devaun recounts. “After going through my internship, I realized, okay… psychology is nice, but I want to be more specific and actually help, so being a counselor would allow me do that.”
“A fantastic experience… Having seen the value that the City Charter High School interns added to the work that we were conducting at Women’s Center & Shelter, it seemed like a natural fit with 3E Now where we are engaging teenagers every day to bring in a talented young man or woman to assist us in our work in making sure that it is relevant and topical for our audience. And Devaun did a wonderful job on that.”
—Chris McAneny, Executive Director 3E Now
At the Women’s Center, Devaun got to work directly with kids affected by domestic violence, helping them with day-to-day activities. “It wasn’t as much a daycare as it was a safe haven for the kids. So I got to help them with whatever was going on that day… I got to see that being a counselor for them, being able to understand what they’re going through, being able to talk about that on a personal level… that’s what they kind of needed.”
This firsthand view was very helpful and motivating. “I actually got to see the after-effects of domestic abuse at the Women’s Center. While at 3E Now, I got to work with preventing domestic violence. I could see both spectrums of it.”
City High’s Devaun Herzog
At 3E Now, Devaun worked with older kids, his teenage peers actually, to increase awareness of the warning signs of abuse. According to Chris McAneny, 3E Now’s founder and executive director, “We started this non-profit organization with the sole purpose of prevention education, working in high schools, on athletic fields with sporting teams, with religious communities and stakeholders, and with parents, talking with moms and dads about raising healthy daughters and healthy sons who are growing up respectful and mindful that equality among the sexes – among all people on this planet – is still a daily struggle.”
“We depended upon Devaun to assist us with our curriculum development.” observes Mr. McAneny. “These curriculums are evidence-based and in my experience in delivering them are effective and well-received tools to address this issue. However, we wanted to ensure that they were ‘teenage voice’ approved. We expected Devaun to know the curriculum in and out and offer us guidance on ways we could make these discussions with students relevant and in terms they are comfortable with.”
Of course, with any small non-profit, there are plenty of chores to be done. So Devaun, who was the first high school intern ever at 3E Now, became a jack-of-all-trades. He helped with fundraising, reaching out to local businesses for support and sponsorships, tackling administrative duties and speaking arrangements. “He was a part of everything we were doing.” reveals Mr. McAneny. Devaun even helped prepare and deliver a powerpoint presentation at St. Vincent College over the summer and lead workshops for incoming high school students using examples from music, film, TV and other media to show how some of those messages are harmful and contribute to the gender imbalance that still exists today.
Not all kids know what they want to be when they grow up. But even those who do can benefit from exposure to the real world. In Devaun’s case, the internship helped him steer his career path in psychology more toward the counseling side. He has already found 4 colleges where he can major in this important area… and continue to make a difference in the world.
3E Now—Educating, Empowering,
Eliminating Dating Violence
In the true spirit of grassroots social change, 3E Now is a non-profit organization dedicated to domestic abuse prevention, implementing awareness campaigns with year-long programming at various schools throughout Western PA.
Unfortunately prevention is often thought of last, because of the significant need for victim services.
The fact is: 1 in 3 teenagers are involved in an abusive relationship. So 3E Now works with students to address gender inequality, to challenge typical, traditional social norms about what it means to be a man, what is means to be a woman, what a healthy relationship looks like, what a dangerous relationship looks like.
“We’re working on elevating those student voices so that they can become the leaders in the school.” Says Chris McAneny, 3E Now executive director. “Ideally over years and time, we will see a cultural shift in the schools, so that sexist and derogatory language is no longer accepted – no longer accepted by the faculty and administration, it’s no longer accepted by the students.”