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Statewide Youth Leadership 2021 Award Winner: Sarah Petit!

The 84 Movement wants to honor a youth leader from Massachusetts!  

Every Kick Butts Day: Take Down Tobacco, we recognize the work that youth and Chapters across the state have been doing by giving away the Youth Leadership Awards! The 84 Movement’s Statewide Youth Leadership Award is a chance for youth to EXPRESS THEMSELVES and BE RECOGNIZED for the great work they do in their communities and in the state for tobacco prevention.

This year’s winner is Sarah Petit!

Sarah is a senior from the Bridging L.I.V.E.S Peer Leaders Chapter through Bridgewater-Raynham High School. Sarah has a passion for giving people the information and education they need to make important decisions regarding substances. During this unprecedented year, Sarah has embodied what it means to be a resilient leader in her community. To her, being a leader means to take initiative, which she has demonstrated by helping to lead her coalition this past year around issues like mental health and substance abuse. When plans changed due to the pandemic, Sarah worked with her Chapter to find alternative methods to communicate with each other and to continue to empower her peers. Within her school, Sarah participates in clubs that involve leadership and representation such as the School Committee Student Advisory Board, Student Council, and the Varsity Debate Team. Next year, she will be attending Boston University to major in Chemistry on a pre-medical track and hopes to join several clubs at BU that involve her passion for advocacy concerning substance abuse and mental health as well as science.

We are extremely proud to award Sarah with this year’s Youth Leadership Award.

In case you missed Kick Butts Day: Youth Day of Action live, here’s her incredibly inspiring speech:

“My name is Sarah Petit and I am honored to be the recipient of The 84 Movement’s 2021 Statewide Youth Leadership Award. I am proud to be able to spread The 84 Movement’s message through my chapter Bridging L.I.V.E.S.

Bridging L.I.V.E.S. is a student-led substance abuse prevention organization that emphasizes education and communication. At Bridgewater-Raynham Regional High School, members of Bridging L.I.V.E.S. (called Peer Leaders) work together with the Brockton Area Prevention Collaborative to put into motion substance abuse prevention education and communication resources throughout our neighborhoods. Over the past year, we have focused on reaching out into the community and educating on several topics from coping mechanisms to specific substances.

One of our most memorable projects has been working with the book Hey, Kiddo. Written by Jarret J. Krosoczka, this graphic novel explores the hardships of a loved-one dealing with substance abuse. Following Jarret himself, the reader learns about using certain mechanisms to find the light at the end of the tunnel. Jarret uses art and ends up pursuing this passion from middle school to college. Members of Bridging L.I.V.E.S. have all read this memoir and are now working with the local senior center to do a Book Club. The powerful messages about the ripple effects of substance abuse and how to process it has shown me the impacts of substance abuse on entire family systems. As a result, Hey, Kiddo will be a choice for upcoming juniors and seniors at our school to read during the summer for their ELA classes. I am so grateful to have had the opportunity to work closely with this book while also promoting healthy living.

We have worked with staff at my school to pass out Bridging L.I.V.E.S. gear to the students, spreading the message of healthy coping mechanisms. Hundreds of face-coverings and water bottles were distributed, with tabs asking “what’s in your cup?” allowing us to have incredible conversations about what brings us peace and happiness.

Currently, I am planning the annual Be In The Know Youth Conference with the Brockton Area Prevention Collaborative. Here, students are combining their unique skillsets and passion for advocacy to plan the entire event. Youth voice is determining everything from fundraising to setting up a youth panel. I am thrilled to showcase the results of all our hard work while promoting health and wellness.

I would like to take a moment to thank my advisor, Mrs. Obrien, for allowing me to step foot into Bridging L.I.V.E.S. in the midst of a pandemic. To Gabrielle Perruccio and Amanda Sandoval, thank you for always aiding the coalition with planning events and community outreach in addition to being some of the kindest and most compassionate people that I know. To my fellow Peer Leaders, thank you for working with me to uplift our messages and resources. Our relationships have encouraged me to be an active part of our town and allowed me to be a part of something bigger than myself.

I could not be more proud of the work that The 84 Movement and all the Chapters have done. Youth voice is generative and impactful; we have made waves all around us by raising our voices on what matters most to us. We have changed laws for the better to ensure that we are protecting those who are vulnerable. Although there is still work to do, recognize that we have already made a mark in our state’s history.

I am proud to be a Peer Leader and be a part of our collective youth voice. You have all filled my cup with peace and happiness, and I am eager to continue doing the same for others around me. Thank you.”