What is Your "Why?"
Written by Ainsley Erdner
Each month on the Drug Free Cecil blog, we will feature an interview with a member of the Drug Free Cecil Youth Coalition. This interview will give you a look into why they decided to join the DFCYC and what it means to them.
This month, our Youth Aid, Ainsley Erdner, interviewed youth coalition member Anna Rando.
Go ahead and introduce yourself!
Anna: My name is Anna Rando, I am going into my junior year at Perryville High School.
How long have you been involved with the DFCYC and how did you hear about it?
Anna: I’ve been in the DFCYC for about two years, I started when I was a freshman. I originally heard about it from my brother who was previously in it. He came home from a NorthBay trip that was hosted by the coalition and I asked him some questions about why he was there, and my interest for the group started there, which led me to attend my first meeting, and it all kind of went from there.
You mentioned your interest in the NorthBay trip, did you later get to attend one of those trips?
Anna: Yes, my 10th grade year, I got to attend the NorthBay trip with my school where I got to help make the Billboard and PSA.
So in the coalition we talk a lot about everyone's “why”. What does the question “What's your WHY?” mean to you specifically?
Anna: To me, that means "Why do you choose to do something? What makes you want to be a part of the change? And, what am I going to do to change the normalization of substance use in my generation?
Why do you think having a Why is so important? And why should everyone have one?
Anna: I believe it's important because each of us have a different why. You know, when we are asked about our coalition, obviously we work towards drug prevention and that is why we are all here. However, individually we all have different reasons and values that play a role in the coalition.
So because you have been in the coalition for quite some time now, how does prevention play a role in your life and how has it brought itself into other parts of your life?
Anna: Well it's definitely taught me a ton of things, like refusal skills and things I can do to protect myself from becoming a part of that behavior. Also, I run track, if I were to vape my lungs would be terrible and the coalition has taught me so much about that and how to stay away from those things.
Has your WHY changed from when you started to now?
Anna: Yeah definitely, I originally thought my why was because Cecil County was always known for heavy drug use, and I lived here and I didn’t want to support that stereotype and I wanted to help change that. My why has now changed, specifically focused on my generation. I see how these things have affected my peers and I want to be part of the solution for that problem.
Yeah I completely agree. I think we see that a lot in the coalition, where some of us start with a general community based why that later turns into an individual value. While others start with a more individually based why, that later turns into a passion for the entire community.
Anna: Yeah, I completely agree.
So if you had to come up with one word for your why, what would that one word be?
Anna: I’m not really sure, it would be something along the lines of “normalizing change”.
So your one word could definitely be change. Its basically an overall “theme” I guess you could say, and it can be elaborated on if needed.
Anna: Yeah I think change is a good word for my why.
How do you see the coalition playing a role in your future?
Anna: I expect the things I have learned from the coalition to have a huge impact on my future. Most importantly, public speaking. I’ve never been the type to be super comfortable sharing my ideas in front of groups of people. But the coalition has taught me how to do those things.
So to go off of that, what is something you have learned since starting with the DFCYC?
Anna: I would definitely say, how to talk to people. But also, how to get your point across to someone effectively. I’ve learned that scare tactics are not effective and it takes a lot more than just telling someone “That’s bad for you” to get them to listen.
What are some goals that the coalition has that you are really excited about?
Anna: Honestly, after getting to attend CADCA midyear and learning how to create a logic model, I’m really excited to take those problem solving skills back to my town, Perryville and back to my high school.
Since being in the coalition, how has your way of thinking changed? Whether that be about, drugs, prevention overall, or your peers?
Anna: Well I definitely have a better idea of what is going on in the community, and I have learned better ways of thinking through problems and what can be done to help.
So, why is prevention so important?
Anna: I think that it is so important because we need to attack problems, before we have to fix them.
Lastly, If you had to write a general WHY for the community what would it be?
Anna: Our community needs change. It is crazy to see how much people don’t know, and we need to provide the community with the tools necessary to see the risks of substance use.
I completely agree! Thank you for taking the time to talk about this today and I can't wait to work on future projects with you in DFCYC!
Anna: Yeah absolutely! Thank you.