What have you been doing with your life since graduating from Youth2Youth?
In 2010 I moved to Palm Springs, CA with my dad, where I graduated high school in 2011. The next fall I began college at Adolphus College in Saint Peter, MN, graduating a semester early with a Bachelor’s in Sociology and Anthropology, accompanied by a degree in Gender, Women, and Sexuality Studies. I am currently obtaining my third degree in Professional Nursing as an RN at Rasmussen College. I work at the Children’s Hospital and Clinics of Minnesota in Minneapolis, and I work at a company called Welcome Baby as a postpartum doula.
What are you most proud of?
I am most proud of being able to stick with my goals and achieve them. With everything I have accomplished, I have also created a home with my boyfriend in our new house with our two cats, stuck with my studies, done amazing work in my jobs, and so much more. I am proud to be accomplishing my goals, no matter how long they take.
How have skills you learned in Youth2Youth helped you in your life beyond Youth2Youth?
The experiences I’ve gained in Youth2Youth, as well as OAK, FACT, and Tobacco Free Kids, have intensified my passion and helped me further use the skills to fight Big Tobacco. I’ve written several articles for school on the subject and have continued to educate others about the dangers of smoking in my own way. I have made valuable connections with people from past Y2Y work and used a lot of my own experiences to help influence others. I’ve also gained marketing experiences that I have since used throughout my college and work career.
What advice would you like to give to today’s youth?
Enjoy it. The best advice I can give to you is enjoy the experiences you are having through Youth2Youth. You will look back on them for the rest of your life. I have always had a passion to help people and being a member of this organization helped me do that. The only way you can have experiences is to get involved in them. Take chances and risks and see what you can do. I was extremely shy, but I gained leadership skills through this organization. I was on the city, county, state, and national committee. My passion allowed me to travel all over Wisconsin, Minnesota, Ohio, Texas, and Washington D.C. I met so many amazing people, many of whom I still interact with today. Volunteer for new ways to experience this organization. Whether it’s a parade, a committee, a commercial, boot camps, traveling, meeting the governor or a member of congress, it doesn’t matter. Enjoy it all. Because at the end of the day, whether you realize it or not, you are making a difference. And it’s something that you’ll always remember.