Kathryn C. is a graduating senior from Goffstown High School. She joined EmpowerYOUTH, an initiative of Makin’ It Happen, as a Freshman.
We asked her what made her take part in EmpowerYOUTH and she explained: “When I was a freshman, I went with my school to the opioid summit. After, my English teacher asked me to write what I would do if I could to help the situation. Apparently my response was great because a week later my guidance counselor invited me to the 3 day CADCA (Community Anti Drug Coalition of America) leadership training that evolved into presenting my opinions and ideas at the “State of Addiction, Student Solutions” WMUR town hall event. Ever since then through EmpowerYOUTH, I have jumped at opportunities to help my community through drug prevention”.
Her favorite experience with EmpowerYOUTH was through CADCA. She explained that “we learned how to find, analyse and solve a problem in our community”. Further explaining that “it was 3 days of learning new skills that I had always wanted to explore, but didn’t know how. It was the first time I worked with a group of students from my school and surrounding schools that I would eventually form working and personal relationships with. It was also the first time I met Jon DeLena, Pam and Mary with Makin’ It Happen. Also not to mention the food Pam and Mary provided just added to the experience as a whole. But it is my favorite event I have participated in because I not only realized I could actually do something to make a difference, it was the starting point of making that difference”.
Kathryn would 100% recommend EmpowerYOUTH to her peers, not only because they will learn more about their community, but because “you get amazing opportunities to make an actual difference within your community”. Explaining that “you learn not only how to work with people you barely know, but how to present your ideas and opinions professionally, as well as how to think on the spot and expand my horizon to look at the bigger picture. I learned how to look at the big picture in order to find the root of the problem, and that you have to find the root of the problem in order to solve it”.
Kathryn offers these imparting words; “EmpowerYOUTH has made me realize how easy it is to impact others. Four years ago I didn’t think I could make a difference in my community but now, I have grown to be a problem solver in my community”.
Kathryn plans on attending the University of New Hampshire at Durham with a major in chemical engineering in the Fall. She will continue here volunteer work on the college level, and continue to be an active participant in her community, both new and old. Her goal is to eventually build a career where she uses her knowledge in STEM to solve problems within the community, whether it’s socially, environmentally or economically.
Our final question to Kathryn was who was someone that impacted her during her time at Goffstown High School. Here is her response: “Mr. John Webb, my guidance counselor, was a huge influence of mine. He encouraged me multiple times to explore different ways to solve problems, and was always extremely supportive of any ideas that I had. All the adults who helped and guided me to express my opinions in public settings, and gave me opportunities.
John Webb had this to say about Kathryn:
“In everything she does, Kathryn exhibits thoughtful intelligence, a deep level of being “other centered” and a paradigm shift in how she thinks of solving problems in the world.
About as optimistic and open-minded a student as I have ever worked with, Kathryn aspires to put her dynamic problem-solving skills to work.
Some of the highlights of her volunteer work have been collaborating with the Drug Enforcement Agency. In her freshman year, she helped bring awareness about the Opioid crisis in New Hampshire as part of a team of students in the WMUR (our local ABC station) special “State of Addiction: Student Solutions.”
She also collaborated on a PSA later that year, a project pitched by Jim Wahlberg and Governor Sununu, which won an Emmy in 2018! In the fall of 2018, PBS did a special on the “Road to Recovery,” where she was interviewed about the DEA 360 sticker campaign- a project to raise awareness about opioid use by putting student designed stickers on pharmacy bags. She has also attended many youth leadership trainings put on by CADCA, Youth To Youth, Poison Control Center, NAMI, Dartmouth- Hitchcock Health and Breathe NH. Whew! If you haven’t noticed already, Kathryn is committed to doing her part by involving herself utilizing her strengths (smart, poised, creative problem-solver, oh, and the camera loves her).
In each of these endeavors, Kathryn brings a clarity of message, a personalization of her kind character, and a warm authentic smile of welcome.”
We are so proud of Kathryn! Congratulations on your graduation!