Spotlighting CADCA Youth Spotlights

If you follow Stop Medicine Abuse on social media, you may have recently met Vinayak Menon and Andrea Marquez. They are two of CADCA’s recent youth spotlights, which highlights teenagers active in community substance misuse prevention efforts. We loved showing them off and we’d like to introduce you to a few more.

Meet Jabeen Sheikh

Jabeen is a devoted member of CADCA’s National Youth Advisory Council (NYAC). She has also been a part of the Youth Leadership Council for Community in Crisis (CIC) since her sophomore year of high school. With regards to her civic involvement, she said “[It’s] been a great way to get involved with my community and do something impactful. I love my adult leaders and the other youth that are a part of it. It’s not just adults telling us to not do drugs or not drink – it’s a fun time, and we are able to have open conversations. I’ve learned so much about different perspectives on substance use and misuse prevention.” Jabeen is planning to enroll in Cornell University in 2023 on an impressive pre-med track. Read more about Jabeen’s story here.

Meet Jaleyna Lawes

NYAC was created to form a youth-adult partnership and train youth to speak on behalf of other youth. Jaleyna is not just a participant in the NYAC, she was actually selected to join as one of the founding members! Through her leadership role, she has enjoyed the opportunity to speak publicly at CADCA events, lead innovative projects, and collaborate with prevention partners to amplify the often drowned out voices of youth.

“After learning to factor in community history and the social determinants of health, it definitely influenced my choice of major, which will be focused on informed advocacy through an understanding of history to generate better sustainable solutions. I think working with the NYAC really gave me that perspective to know that history matters in such a way when it comes to prevention. In the future, I want to take what I’ve learned and continue using this lens of history to inform work in public health and global health.” We’re confident she will deliver on this intention – Jaleyna is on track to attend Yale University to study the History of Science, Medicine and Public Health. Read more about Jaleyna’s story here.

Meet Yurimar Santiago

Yurimar began her impressive prevention journey in 2014 when she became the youth sector representative of her local coalition, Coalición de Prevención Moroveña where she remained an active member before transitioning her focus to being a Youth Trainer for CADCA. This experience helped Yurimar mold the future she is building today. Feeling torn between her love of music and her enthusiasm for prevention work, Yurimar ultimately decided to transfer to Texas Woman’s University, so she could continue to support and help individuals while pursuing her passion for music. “When I discovered music therapy and learned that I could help individuals that have different mental health disorders or are suffering from substance use, it felt very connected to the work we do at CADCA,” Yurimar reflects. Though she recently earned a master’s degree in music therapy education and will soon embark on a six-month internship at Children’s Health Hospital (a highly selective program with hundreds of applicants and only one winner), Yurimar is still also focused on prevention. Yurimar currently supports the efforts of five Latin American countries in coalition development and youth initiatives. Hats off to Yurimar and her never-ending energy and compassion. Read more about Yurimar’s story here.

We hope you found these spotlights as inspiring as we did and encourage you to share and discuss them with your teen! In fact, you might find that these stories motivate them to follow in the footsteps of these talented youth leaders and join the prevention effort.

If you or your teen are interested in learning more about CADCA’s prevention efforts, please visit their website or check out this link to learn more about OTC medicine abuse prevention in general.

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