Nex Benedict, Rest In Power.
Hate will never win. Together, we will rise with and alongside you.
As the GSA Network Coordinator, Noa supports the network of Gender and Sexuality Alliances (GSAs) that work within their school community to create change for LGBTQ+ youth locally, regionally, and on statewide levels. They help youth build power by supporting youth campaigns, developing leadership opportunities, and connecting young people and allied adults to resources, skill-building opportunities, and each other.
As a young person, Noa learned from and was inspired by educators who cared about telling the truth in loving ways. After graduating from Hampshire College with a BA in Social Justice Education, they went on to receive certifications in Trauma-Informed Teaching Practices from the Stockton Rush Barthol Foundation, and Intentional Peer Support from the IPS Institute.
Noa has learned and grown as an abolitionist educator and organizer through their work with young people, which has included directing a city-wide university afterschool program and organizing grassroots Black liberation schools in Burlington and Philadelphia. Many remember Noa from their prior role at Outright, overseeing social and support groups as well as directing Camp Outright in 2018 and 2019. In the years since, Noa has offered trauma-informed social justice-based executive coaching to community organizers, teachers, executive directors, and LGBTQIA+ youth and their families. Most recently, they worked as a health justice organizer at Out in the Open while serving as Interim Director of Freedom Finders Community School, a Vermont-based school that explicitly centers the safety, integrity, joy, and freedom of Black children.
Noa believes young people are the most brilliant, loving organizers, and aims to ensure they have the resources to meet their needs and build the world they deserve. They are deeply interested in learning with and growing beside young people, families, and teachers through authentic radically loving relationships, community consent practices, and trauma-informed models like Internal Family Systems and Restorative Conflict Resolution.
As a young person, Noa spent their summers swimming in rivers and climbing trees. They are a summer camp kid through and through: they play a fab campfire song and can even whittle a spoon! When they’re not making journals from old books or organizing family potlucks, you can find them eating a creemee in their car, kayaking with a book, or caring for their chihuahua, Spoon.