• Drug Free Cecil

What is your "Why?"

As you’ve been following along with the blog posts, I’m sure you’ve noticed I’m the one who has been asking the questions. So, for this month, I wanted to switch it up a little bit, and tell you, MY WHY.

My name is Ainsley, and I’m a senior this year at Bohemia Manor High School. I’ve been in Drug Free Cecil Youth Coalition (DFCYC) for about 3 years now. I actually heard about it through one of my peers at school. They were leaving for a field trip coordinated by the youth coalition, our annual Northbay Summit. So I asked her what was going on and if she could tell me more about the group. That conversation planted me at the next meeting.

As a coalition, we are very aware of the importance in having a why. Having a “why” is your motivation. It’s crucial to understand your reasoning behind doing something, in order for your passion to grow. Taking time to figure out what keeps me motivated to do this work, has helped me when challenges come my way. I’ve also been able to use this motivation and passion in my life outside of the youth coalition. When your passion grows, you start to realize that this work goes way beyond a monthly meeting or a community event.

So to start, my why had a lot to do with family. I have seen the first hand effects of addiction, and I always lived by the motto “I want to make something that was negative for me, positive for others.” I still live by that motto but my reasoning behind this work has definitely transformed. Having an addictive family member will always be a reason for me to do the work I do. But after time, it started to become a lot more for my peers and my community. My eyes were opened to what resources were provided here and I noticed how much treatment and recovery we have to offer, which of course is completely necessary. However, prevention is equally important, and I wanted to be a part of that movement.

This is a huge motivation for me, I’ve gotten the chance to see our message grow, and it encourages me and all the other youth to keep going, because we want to see it grow even more. One thing that hasn’t changed for me, is the word I use to describe my why. TRANSFORM. I want to transform the community for the better, whether that be actions, or just mindset.

By taking the time to discover my personal reasons for being in the Youth Coalition, I have realized how this can be taken with me in my future and even in my career. I’ve always wanted to go into the medical field, and being able to incorporate prevention work into my career is a huge goal. I’ve started exploring colleges and I always ask if students can start their own club. Some of these colleges brag about their 60+ clubs and organizations, but none of them have a focus on substance use prevention. I hope to bring the work I’ve done, and am currently doing with me wherever I go.

Over the past 3 years or so, the amount I’ve learned is just something I can’t wrap my head around. My peers come to me to ask me just basic questions, sometimes about vaping, prescription drug use, etc. because they know I might have an answer which is something I am extremely proud of. I would say a huge take away for me, has been to see how many youth in the county don’t involve themselves in the risky behavior that we work to advocate against. There is such a stigma behind teens and substance use disorder. And of course this is true, and our main focus is on teens and the upcoming generations. However the number of teens living a drug free life is extremely underestimated. If our community had a reason, I think that it would be a change of mindset. A realistic mindset, about the issues we are facing, and how prevention plays a crucial role in the trends we see in upcoming generations.

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