Analyse Capodiferro: “Change Starts With You, Here, And Now”
Thanks to our incredible supporters, BRIDGES has changed the lives of thousands of Bridge Builders youth. Analyse Capodiferro—a senior at Houston High School, a Bridge Builder of three years, and a BB Leadership Board member—is just one of them.
“Before I got involved with BRIDGES, I was incredibly shy.” We hear that all the time from students, but it’s surprising coming from a talented singer, dancer and actress like Analyse, who’ll be attending the University of Memphis this fall on a full-ride acting scholarship.
“But I made the decision to jump in to BRIDGES because I was ready to make something of myself,” she said. “The first summer conference, my sophomore year, was kind of like the first time I began to think for myself, where I realized I do have a mind and a voice of my own.
“And having grown up in a Catholic, suburban community, specifically Bartlett, I was kind of in this same stereotypical group for most of my life, and it wasn’t until BRIDGES that I was able to branch out and meet an incredible and diverse group of students,” Analyse added. “We immediately meshed. That first year I went to a lot of the activities other than my three [required per semester], because I was like, ‘Wow, I love this.’ ”
Analyse can rattle off a number of favorite memories from Bridge Builders, but a Leadership Board trip to Little Rock last fall, on the 50th anniversary of the Central High School integration, especially stands out.
“Those [activists] are the people I’ve really idolized growing up and that I’ve always wanted to meet,” she said. “It was really humbling and motivating to hear some of the Little Rock Nine and their children speak about the work they had done, being that they were our age when they were doing it. It was really a great connection for me and motivation to move forward and pursue social justice theatre.”
In her childhood, Analyse said, her friends would constantly talk about wanting to be famous someday.
“And I was like, ‘Heck yes, me too!’ ” she said. “But then I was like, ‘Actually, I want to change the world.’ But I always said it in a joking way, because that’s like a crazy, far-off fantasy dream.
“But BRIDGES really opened my eyes to just how possible it is to change the world, and they provided me with so many skills and experiences and connections,” she said. “It wasn’t until BRIDGES that I realized that if I’ve been born with the skills and talents to help others, then it’s not justifiable to pursue a self-centered career.”
Analyse, who not only earned a full acting scholarship but was also accepted into U of M’s social change program, had a lot of soul-searching to do over the past year as she considered colleges.
“I was itching to get out of Memphis before I got into BRIDGES,” she said. “I was in that mentality of ‘inner-city Memphis isn’t that great or safe, and there’s absolutely nothing to do in Memphis, ever.’ It wasn’t until Bridge Builders that I started exploring the different communities, and it made me really aware that Memphis is a great place.
“So one of the biggest things that came up this past year, being a theatre major, was, ‘Why am I staying in Memphis?’ [U of M’s] program is amazing, but there are a lot of other incredible ones out there too,” she continued. “I kept going back to what my life goals are, and that feeling that I want to change the world. BRIDGES really instilled in me that change starts with you, here, and now. The passion is rooted the most deep here, and if everyone goes somewhere else to create change, then how is anything going to get done?”
In the end, Analyse said she’s learned she doesn’t have to make a global impact to change the world.
“Changing the world also includes the communities that surround you,” she said. “Even if it’s just one person, you’re changing their world for the better, and that’s pretty insane. And that’s also what BRIDGES does.”