Quincy Roy (L) and Kimiya Parker Hill (R) of Makin’ It Happen in the 603, an initiative of Makin’ It Happen Coalition for Resilient Youth, with former Manchester Police Chief Nick Willard at a Prevention Week event in Manchester. (Photo by Cheryl Senter.)

Quincy Roy (L) and Kimiya Parker Hill (R) of Makin’ It Happen in the 603, an initiative of Makin’ It Happen Coalition for Resilient Youth, with former Manchester Police Chief Nick Willard at a Prevention Week event in Manchester. (Photo by Cheryl Senter.)

On a mission to prevent addiction

Members of the Makin’ It Happen Coalition for Resilient Youth see drugs and alcohol as a clear and present danger to their generation. They are deflecting that danger with a potent weapon: the optimism of the young

These kids are keenly aware of the epidemic swirling around them.

Catherine Jones was marching with her high school band when the group witnessed the scene of a drug overdose in Manchester. Quincy Roy has a family member who has suffered from a substance use disorder. Every kid has a story.

Members of the Makin’ It Happen Coalition for Resilient Youth see drugs and alcohol as a clear and present danger to their generation. And they have put their shoulders back and found their voices and are deflecting that danger with a potent weapon: the optimism of the young.

More than 70 young people from eight schools have been trained on over-the-counter medication safety, and now train younger children. When they heard the president was coming to town, they dropped everything on a weekend to craft a message and figure out how to get him to hear it. Their example convinced leaders of a national Drug Enforcement Administration program to shift focus to youth and prevention. They have become accustomed to television cameras. They are readying for a sit-down with the governor. They are thrilled when other kids want to join the work.

Quincy’s family member is in recovery and working again, buoyed by a 14-year-old’s efforts.

“We’re making kind of like a movement as youth,” Quincy says. Catherine adds: “It’s going to carry with us the rest of our lives.”

Let the kids lead, and amazing things will happen.