Meet our Youth Action Team Members
Shreya Gupta is a rising senior at McIntosh High School. She was born in Mississippi, and moved to Peachtree City in 2005. At school, she did rowing in 9th and 10th grade, and plans to continue it again next year. She has a younger brother who will attend MHS next year. Shreya joined the DFF Youth Action Team at the encouragement of her friends who were already involved. Her most amazing experience on the YAT was when they launched Drug Facts Week at McIntosh High School. She loved reaching fellow students, sharing facts about harmful substance abuse and she enjoyed working with the people around her. Shreya is excited about what’s next project with YAT and we’re excited too to have her as a member.
Megan Leclaire was born in Peachtree City and is a rising senior at McIntosh High School. She is the youngest of four children and has a twin brother. Megan is a track and field athlete and she competes in the 4 x 100, 300 hurdles, 100 hurdles, and 4 x 400. In addition to track and field, she enjoys reading, playing guitar, hanging out with friends, baking, and swimming. She joined the Youth Action Team to make a difference because she knows first-hand that a lot of her peers are currently participating in drug use. She hopes to show peers how dangerous drugs are and that there are other options than drugs.
Maddie Shelton has been on the DFF Youth Action Team for about two years. She is in multiple honor societies at McIntosh High School where she is currently a junior. She has lived in Fayette County all her life and works at a local daycare center. Her main interests are in health science and public health. By being a member of the YAT she hopes to grow her knowledge about public health and interact with her community directly in a positive way.
Olivia Shim is a rising senior at McIntosh High School. She has been a part of the YAT since her sophomore year. She says that absolutely loves it! Olivia was born in South Korea and moved to the US when she was 2 years old. She loves thrifting, running, and doing puzzles. She learned about this amazing team through her healthcare teacher, and wanted to join because she wanted to be a part of “something bigger”. Olivia feels strongly about the importance of taking care of one's body and mental health and wants to help others make the right choice. It is her desire to do everything in her power to advocate for teen substance abstinence, and wants to work to grow our platform and help people realize that there are solutions other than drugs. Olivia says, “I hope that as a team we will all be able to work together to stop drug and alcohol abuse in our community!”
Aliana Stanley is a Senior at Spelman College, where she is pursuing a double major in Psychology and Political Science. She graduated with an Associates of Arts degree in Integrative Studies from Clayton State University in December 2020. She has been recognized for Outstanding Leadership by the Georgia National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), an organization that she has been active in for over four years. In the future, she plans to go to law school and obtain her Juris Doctor and Masters in Public Administration. She hopes to have a fulfilling career that bridges her love for the law, psychology, and helping others.
Sydney Watton has lived in Peachtree City for most of her life. She has one sister who is also in high school. She is a competitive gymnast and it has been her passion for about eight years now. Sydney enjoys math and science classes at school and plans to possibly pursuing engineering when she goes to college. She has always been interested in helping spread awareness to teens about the harms of drugs and alcohol abuse. Joining the YAT seemed a perfect fit for her since Sydney is eager to share with others that there are better things waiting for them
Tara Hannon has been a resident of Fayette County for 38 years. She holds an undergraduate degree in Psychology and a certification as a Master Life Coach, Spiritual Mentor and Relationship Consultant. Tara is the owner of Reintegrative Wellness where she guides individuals as they embark upon an intentional, focused journey towards self-discovery, restoring inner-wholeness, and manifesting a life of peace, happiness, love, passion, and purpose. Tara struggled with addiction in her late teens and began her journey to sobriety in 2001. The experience birthed a deep passion for bringing relief to those suffering from the same battle.
"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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