In addition to being a second-year member of the Youth Ambassador Network (YAN), Chloe plays varsity soccer and runs track for the school.
She chose to be a member of the Youth Ambassadors because she “wanted to be a part of changing how we think about drug education.” She believes the YAN is more of a “safe space” and different than telling teens “you are wrong” or “you’ll get in trouble.” She specifically likes how those participating are welcomed with open arms and “focuses on the positives.”
Sometimes, drugs are an act of rebellion; (an act) of “us against them.” But, the (Youth Ambassador) program does not feel like that. This program is more relatable to teens.
Chloe explained that this program, to her, has touched more kids than others might, especially through the poetry offered last year.
The Youth Ambassadors are excited to expand the program beyond adolescent drug abuse. This year, the goal is expansion beyond solely drug prevention goals in schools. At Ichabod Crane, students are looking to take on stress management, an increased focus on healthy food choices in the school, as well as supplying food to those in their community who may not have enough.
In addition, Chloe said it is important to “continue to be part of a program that educates progressively and looks to change and move forward and see teens where they are.”
An active participant in the New Visions Performing Arts program out of Questar in Columbia County, Chloe is beginning to set her sights on college. She plans to attend the Fashion Institute of Technology and study public relations and marketing, hoping to find a way to incorporate music and art into every aspect of her life.
“The gene of addiction runs through my family,” she said when asked what keeps her away from the lure of drugs and other illegal substances. “I have seen what it can do and how others have had to work so hard to stay away, so it is important for me to stay away as well.
“I have no need or desire because I know what I enjoy…and it doesn’t include drugs,” she added.
When things get tough, Chloe remembers “someone else always has it worse.” She knows what kind of example would she set if she happened to turn to drugs – the good news, she has not and never will. She works tirelessly to be self-reflective and grateful for all she has, keeping her grounded and focused.
Her greatest role model is her father, a trust officer in Ballston Spa. She values how “fair-minded he always is” and how he taught her to her own beliefs while working toward understanding others. Her father is open-minded and willing to talk about anything, including drugs, taking away the mystery and helping reduce the pressure of using drugs.
(Living The Example is about) taking time out of your day to consciously put others before yourself.
Chloe emphasized the word “consciously,” saying, “it is part of human nature to put yourself first. But by putting others first, you see the good in everyone.” She added that working to find the good comes “full circle” with drugs, because when you are happy, you don’t need them. She lives these values every day and is a shining example of our Youth Ambassador Program.
Thank you, Chloe, for continuing to live the example!
To learn more about the “Living The Example” campaign, visit livingtheexample.org.