Launching a national campaign takes a lot of effort and Nathan Nisenson, a rising senior at Washington Lee HS in Arlington, VA, has stepped up to become an H&M Drug Free T-Shirt Slogan Campaign Ambassador!

31 August 2014 | News

Nathan has been spending time in the Mentor Foundation USA offices to develop strategy for outreach among his peers to ensure that 2014 is the most successful H&M Drug Free Slogan Campaign ever.

We would like to thank Nathan for his work over the summer. Giving young people the ability to explore what’s out there and practice the skills that interest them is what Mentor Foundation USA works for. It was a great treat for us to be able to provide this opportunity for students over the summer. Nathan is an ambitious and incredibly intelligent young man who works hard and is setting goals for himself to help Mentor Foundation USA reach as many students as possible through.

Nathan is also active with his school’s Poetry Club through Poetry Now VA as well as a writer for his school paper. As we develop our blog further Nathan will be assisting by submitting stories and poetry throughout the school year. Get to know Nathan a little better by reading his poetry on our blog in the “Poetry” section and by reading his poem below.

Every morning I lock my mind away into the narrow world of focused thinking

and force it to labor in the fields of attentive behaviour.

A tiny, beige, unsuspecting pill tells my brain what to think and how to think about it.

I am forced into thinking about what’s “important”, like school and assignments.

I consider everything else as secondary;

imagination is trivial, and daydreaming is unimportant.

Math tests aren’t passed with creativity,

so I have no choice but to disregard it.

My mind is in prison but every weekend it escapes.

It runs free into a world of things that haven’t been invented,

surrounded by people that don’t exist.

My thoughts feel like they’re on fire

As I run through fields of the fourth primary color,

living in a world with buildings 100 stories deep.

I look at things as what they could be

because normal is never good enough

Every weekend my mind is free,

and every Monday morning, week after week,

it is imprisoned again.

On weekdays I’m back to work;

my mind is a computer

calculating algebra rather creating than alien planets,

concerned with symmetrical parabolas and not shifts in gravity.

I have no choice but to focus on the worksheet on top of my desk

instead of the adventures inside of my head

that I constantly crave to crawl back into.

But that constant whirring goes on

long after the school day ends

and with no math problems left to answer

I’m forced to find something else to question:

I question the trophies on my wall

and whether I truly deserve them.

I think about my doctor

and whether he knows whats its like to be “chemically imbalanced,”

and I ask what gives him the right

To tell me how I should feel.

I am not the only one with my thoughts relentlessly tethered

to things that other people find important.

Statistically speaking, 1 in 10 of you is prescribed a psychoactive drug.

We are part of a generation of kids,

labeled from infancy by men in white suits,

people who call themselves doctors

but act more like salesmen,

telling kids they have something wrong with them,

teaching them to believe that a pill would make everything better

and preaching the belief that

being average and being cured are the same thing.

My mind is in prison with 2 million cellmates.

yes, there are people that see this prison as a sanctuary

there are people who need these pills,

but there are countless others who don’t

Kids who are growing up thinking that they need to be fixed

when they were never broken in the first place

Why did we become like this?

when did we start thinking

that just because a child’s mind wanders to far off places

that we are obligated to shackle it to the ground

was it because of test scores?

Profit margins?

This is more than a trend,

this is more than a craze.

This is a disease we don’t even know we have

because its been killing us so slowly

and for so long,

that today over medication seems as normal as the sunrise

Our country has created a system

that knows children only by their flaws,

classifies them with jargon,

and measures them by milligrams.

We force away the flaws in our children

through tiny, beige, unsuspecting pills.

They are filled with combinations of chemicals

to match whatever quirk or characteristic

or personality

that they are meant to hide.

My pill is called adderall.

It’s called a stimulant

It’s called a cure

But it isn’t.

It’s a set of crutches

that have never let me learn how to walk,

a blank mask

that has become more familiar than my own face.

It is life raft that i want to leave,

but can’t,

because I’m afraid that

I’ve forgotten how to swim