Koe Sozuteki suffers from what she considers to be an incurable malady: “volunteer-itis.”
Such an affliction means that Koe, who’s just shy of 17, finds herself particularly compelled to help others. When she was asked to participate on the American Friends Service Committee’s GLBTQ Youth Speakers Bureau, she jumped at the chance. This position has found her sharing with students and adults alike what it means to be a “queer person, a polyamorous person.” “Being a part of this committee and wanting to see change,” says Koe, “it takes work.”
She also “works” as an unpaid intern at Lambert House, the resource center for GLBTQ youth. There, Koe served as a co-organizer of their Pink Prom, a queer-friendly dance that drew close to 50 young people.
While there may never be a remedy for Koe, there is recognition: She recently received a queer youth leadership award from the M-Powerment Project, an offshoot of Lifelong AIDS Alliance. Of her ever-growing list of activities, the homeschooled Kenmore youth says, “It’s the most enjoyable work I could ever dream of.”