Having the courage to stand up for what you believe in can be real tough at times. You may be the lone voice in the room. Your peers avoid you, even make fun of you. It can be awfully lonely and you begin to wonder if it's worth it. Despite constant peer pressure, I feel very strongly about not drinking alcohol or taking drugs.
I don't want to do anything illegal or do anything to cause harm to others. Because I want to set a good example, I am a constant target. It seems a day doesn't go by that I don't get picked on. It's a daily challenge when you're surrounded by teens that are very different than you. This is one of the hardest things I've ever done, but I have stood my ground.
I do, however, have friends that support me. One of my biggest allies is my sister. She is four years older than me but it feels like we're much closer in age. She is such a great role model to me and I try to model my life after hers. She has encouraged me and given me strength in those times that I feel I have few places to turn.
There is also another ally that plays a very important role in my life--On Point. When I talked to a few members, I felt there was a real connection so I decided to apply to the teen board in my 9th grade year and was accepted, following a very intensive interview.
I was very quiet and shy before I became a member of the teen board. I remember at my first meeting, the Teen Board facilitator really encouraged me to speak, as I had been quiet the entire meeting. It was then I realized my opinion did matter and people wanted to hear from me. That really boosted my confidence and self worth.
Being a member of the teen board has helped me develop my voice around my peers, and that's especially true at school. There was one situation where a student was being bullied. I felt compelled to confront the bully and ask that person to stop. There's no doubt that the confidence I've gained, along with all the positive support helped me stand up to this individual.
I joined On Point because I knew that the teens on the board would be a good influence. I also thought that many of them had probably faced similar school situations and knew that they would be a good support system.
Thanks to On Point, I'm a more positive person. I no longer feel sorry for myself. Now, I'm a self-confident individual with a purpose. And I want to share that purpose and conviction with others.
Sarah volunteers at Memorial Hospital during the summer. She also works 16 hours a week at Chick-Fil-A. And she is very heavily involved in her church youth group.
Motto: Be Strong