Working hard to prevent teen drug use

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He may only be a sophomore, but he has accomplished much in working to help others. This student is Brenden Yannella, who has been a part of SRSLY for 7 years now. 

SRSLY’s mission is to empower and equip area youth to reach their full potential by remaining substance-free.

His motivation? Yannella enjoys helping others through SRSLY, and he wants to help stop the growing drug epidemic. 

“SRSLY hosts and attends community events like A Day in the Village, open houses at the schools, [teen friendly] community events held at Heritage and Smith and others,” Yannella said of his volunteer time. 

He helps people when he can. He feels it is the right thing to do. 

Emily Stewart, the Coalition Director of SRSLY Stockbridge thinks Yannella is the right young activist for this role.

“Brenden has been a dedicated member since joining our coalition in the 5th grade,” Steward said. She described Yanella as a teen who has a passion for what he does.

“Brenden has volunteered 390 hours since 2014,” Stewart said. 

He also went through numerous training courses. According to Stewart, Yanella attended the Youth Empowerment Solutions program, Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America (CADCA) Mid-Year Training Institute, and he has attended the Youth to Youth International Conference three times. Yannella said he would like to see the world change for the better. 

Making a change one project at a time

Senior Andrew Carriero volunteers for National Honor Society, EMS and LINKS, the peer-to-peer mentorship program. He is always on the move, a look of determination about him.

“Andy is really involved in the community EMS group, and he has been doing it for years,” NHS adviser Kathleen Riley said. “He volunteers his own time to look after other people, and he doesn’t just do that as an EMS, he does that as a LINK. He is striving to make people aware that there are other needs that people have that we can give our time to help others.”

Carriero thinks it is important to do whatever he can to help. He helps others because he sees that they need help. 

“I know I’m fortunate to be in a place to help others because I once needed help. My motto is essentially that if I help others, it’ll inspire them to push it forward and cause a ripple,” he said of his work. 

“If someone needs help or a cause needs help, I normally set time for it or I’ll even drop what I’m doing to just contribute,” Carriero said. 

Of course, taking on too much work can be stressful for anyone but he pushes through the best he can. 

“I’ve found a balance that’s proven to be really helpful and good for my mental health,” he said. 

He tries his hardest to help everyone he possibly can. Through volunteering he reaches for his goal of positivity and well being.