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Deirdre Levy, 31
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DIVERSITY36 Under 36 2020

Deirdre Levy, 31

Supporting Students with Special Needs

What you do:

I have been teaching for seven years at the Department of Education as a special education teacher, working with students that are severely disabled. This year, I am teaching in an integrated classroom. I have lobbied in Albany several times for more diversity, teacher preparation programs and most recently, universal screening for students with dyslexia.

I am also the founder of NYC Filipinos, where I help highlight the achievements of Filipinos all throughout NYC and other communities. Through NYC Filipinos, I also recently started Project Barkada with other young adults, which helps to provide meals to frontliners, the homeless and anyone that is unable to access food supplies during the Covid-19 pandemic. I have volunteered to provide PPE and food to NYCHA residents with Grace Lee and Ben Yee in the East Village and the Lower East Side. In addition, I am also a candidate for City Council District 35 in Brooklyn, and I am a member of the Food Coop, a City Year NY Alumni Board member.

 Unexpected fun fact:

I love to sing in front of complete strangers at karaoke bars.

Quote you live by:

“The worst thing in life is wasted talent and the choices we make will shape our life forever.” — “A Bronx Tale” 

How does your Jewish identity/Jewish values influence the work that you do?:

My identity as a Jewish young adult is influenced by my advocacy within the community. I care about helping others and I speak out against moments of hate and discrimination.

Formative childhood moment:

I was always noticed in school for being a Jewish girl in a Catholic school. I felt different from the other students in obvious ways. Despite this, I embraced my differences and used my experience to help speak out against injustices. 

What Jewish source, person, book, etc., has inspired your work?

Harry Houdini.

Fondest Jewish memory:

Having matzah ball soup with my grandmother, who is no longer with us.

Follow me: @therealdeirdrelevy

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