"My Why" Essay Contest
Congratulations to the essay contest winners!
Pictured (L-R): Tiffany Costa, Aspen Heist, Karima Wakili, and Wendy Mabon
DFF YAT McIntosh High School YAT Team launched their "My Why” Essay Contest from March 21-25, 2022 to coincide with National Drug and Alcohol Facts week. Students got together and visited local businesses and secured $325 worth of gift cards to be given away as prizes for essay contest winners. In addition, they gave away 300 bracelets to McIntosh High School Students with the hashtag #mywhy engraved on them and created “my why” wall where over 250 students wrote reasons they chose to abstain from using drugs/alcohol.
The Winning Essay: Choosing Selflessness
Summer had just begun and I was ecstatic for 6th grade to finally be over. Middle school was harder than I thought it would be, but I did not need to think about that. Summer break meant no worries, it meant having fun. As I lay awake one night in early June, I realized that I was home alone. I had always been scared of the smallest things, so I quickly texted my mom asking where she was. After a couple of minutes, she responded with, “I'll be home soon. Your brothers are in big trouble”. Such a cryptic message entailed something 12-year-old me could not even fathom. As I heard a car pulling up in the driveway I also heard the harsh arguments between my mom and my brothers. I was called from my bedroom to face both of my brothers far from sober. I was so young; I didn't know that high schoolers could even obtain drugs or alcohol. Let alone did I think my very own brothers were capable as well. I felt innocent tears form in my eyes as I found out what teenagers really did for fun. Sitting there, all my brothers could tell me was, “Don't be like us" over and over. That night I only got an hour of sleep. I make the choice now to be drug and alcohol free because, from that moment on, I saw firsthand the effect it has on the people that love you the most.
That summer was rough but the next school year was even worse. One of my brothers continued with these bad habits. This decision slowly consumed our whole family. Arguments were a regular occurrence as my parents kept finding him guilty of his actions. Not only did I have to deal with middle school, but I also had to deal with this extra layer of stress. It hurt to see someone you respected turn into something you know they are not. My brother was always a good, smart kid, but after hanging with the wrong crowd for too long he was different. I wanted my brother, my family back. When the school year finally ended, my parents took my brother to a group that would help him go on a path to sobriety. Of course, it was never easy, but it was all worth it in the end. My family, once falling apart, was building itself back up.
Despite what others might believe, I do not think my brother is a bad person because of what he did. I choose to think about what he will become rather than dwell on the past. If anything, his sobriety now can be used as a role model for others. I like to tell his story to my friends as a life lesson that drugs and alcohol are not the path you should go down. When I describe what happened from my perspective, it gets people to think in a way that reminds them to think selflessly. The people that love you may not always show it, but your actions can impact them in ways you do not think of.
This part of my life has made me live with the choice to stay away from drugs. Some things are just not worth the time or the expense. Whenever I’m confronted with making a decision that can have a big impact, I always remember my brothers telling me to never be like them. Sometimes you have to choose to be selfless and think of how the people around you would feel. With my story, my peers and I can be inspired to say no to drugs and alcohol no matter what.
WHO IS THE DRUG FREE FAYETTE YOUTH ACTION TEAM (DFF YAT)?
DFF YAT is made up of Fayette County High School students who want to positively influence their peers and promote a healthy environment in Fayette County Schools. This team was implemented in response to a rise in the number of youths vaping in Fayette County. It brings awareness to the harmful effects of drug misuse including vaping through anti-vaping communication campaigns. DFF YAT currently has teams at McIntosh High School and Whitewater High School.
WHAT DO WE DO?
YAT works to increase the awareness of the risk of substance use. The team's primary focus is on preventing of underage drinking, tobacco use, and marijuana use. These messages will be conveyed using posters, social media posts in Instagram, TikTok, and Twitter, newspaper articles, and advertisements. YAT members will strengthen their leadership skills through community collaboration as they work to raise awareness, provide information, share resources, and find solutions to address substance use among Fayette County teens.
HOW DO YOU CONNECT WITH US?
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