Youth Forward scholarship 2016 – Social Epidemics and Responsibility

Name: Arina
From: West Windsor, NJ
Grade: Sophomore
School: Mercer County Community College
Votes: 0

In the recent years, I have focused on encouraging grassroots based
initiatives in the area of drug addiction and recovery. Barack Obama
recently pointed out,
“Today,
we are seeing more people killed because of opioid overdose than
traffic accidents.” This is an epidemic – awareness and action must
be taken.
This past school year I presented at the Honors Symposium at my school
about the sociological implications of addictions and possible
methods to increase the overall recovery rates in addiction. By
examining the manner in which modern economic principles encourage
competition amongst peers, I theorized that the overall “rejection”
rate in our society has been increasing over the decades. The
negative aspects of such “rates” exceed possible positive
contributions to our economic growth. The “rejection” leads to a
low probability of reintegration of newly recovered addicts as many
choose relapse over isolation.

Upon presenting this thesis to the faculty and student body of the school,
I asked the population to sign Winter Holiday cards to women in a
rehab in Paterson, NJ. I have continued to support the facility
(Turning Point Inc.) and their patients via donations (ex. art
supplies and books) and my monthly participations in their “support
meetings.” This upcoming June I will be presenting the thesis at
the Beacon Conference. An increase in overall understanding of this
disease and its implications will increase the overall acceptance of
the newly recovered addicts. Further, I have attempted to initiate
communication between Rutgers (New Brunswick) ADAP recovery program
and American Honors Service Squad (of Mercer County Community
College) to bring the “non-addicted” and “recovering”
communities together. This “problem” doesn’t solely belong to
the professions or those in recovery – it is all of our “problem.”
I hope to continue to setting forth initiatives that would bring
about the two “worlds” together – this has been the most
difficult aspect of my volunteer oriented work. Yet, overtime, it
will pay off.

Further, outside of grassroots based work, I volunteered with the Market
Street Mission (Morristown, NJ) for several months. I volunteered in
their learning center by tutoring the recovering men in mathematics
to prepare them for their TASCs. My primary motivation wasn’t for
these men to pass the exam but, to learn at least some fundamental
mathematical principles. Seeing the enthusiasm light up in the faces
of the men was worth every hour that I had spent there. Recently, my
friends and I collected math textbooks to assist the learning center.
Supporting in the basic “steps” of reintegration of such volatile
people is necessary. It is our responsibility to support those in
recovery during the early stages of their “evolutions.” On
average, I contribute approximately five hours a week to such
ordeals. I will continue to set up such programs next school year.
“Looking forward,” I know that my work will continue to play a
positive role in my community. Even if it will help only one person
recover – it will be worth it. Nothing is of greater value than
human life.


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