The student news site of Hagerty High School

The BluePrint Online

The student news site of Hagerty High School

The BluePrint Online

The student news site of Hagerty High School

The BluePrint Online

Rise Together hosts substance use assembly

Rise+Together+volunteers+pose+in+front+of+their+No+Shame+pledge+banner.+On+April+2%2C+the+organization+held+an+assembly+focusing+on+personal+stories+of+struggle+and+perseverance+in+order+to+help+combat+substance+abuse.+
photo by Gabriella Navarro
Rise Together volunteers pose in front of their “No Shame” pledge banner. On April 2, the organization held an assembly focusing on personal stories of struggle and perseverance in order to help combat substance abuse.

In an effort to address substance use among teenagers, an assembly for the junior class was held on April 2, focusing not on statistics and warnings, but on personal stories of struggle and resilience. Organized by Rise Together, a group dedicated to youth empowerment against substance use, emphasis on the themes of generational trauma, self-image and the importance of seeking support were highlights of the event.

Nadine Machkovech, the executive director of Rise Together, is passionate about the inspiration behind her career. Reflecting on her own experiences as a student, she expressed her desire to provide the support and education that she lacked during her own youth.

“Seeing ourselves in the students is what really inspired us to come back and educate,” Machkovech said. “I did not have this type of education of individuals sharing their stories. I want to be that person I never had.”

The assembly aimed to convey three key messages: first, that students are not alone in their struggle, second, that their stories matter and can be used for positive change, and third, that there is no shame in getting help. The organizers hoped to combat common misconceptions about substance abuse and encourage students to approach the topic with understanding and empathy.

We’re able to create that safe space for people to know that they are being seen and heard.

— Anthony Alvarado, founder of Rise Together

During the assembly, Anthony Alvarado, the founder of Rise Together, spoke about the importance of people speaking their truth and breaking the stigmas surrounding substance abuse.

“We really want to highlight that recovery is possible,” Alvarado said. “No matter what you go through; we are all recovering from something because we all go through hard things.”

Machkovech believes it’s important to humanize the issue and to recognize that people are more than just their struggles.

“Even though I might have struggled with substance use or a mental health issue, that doesn’t mean that’s who I am,” Machkovech said. “That is just a very small piece of me and my story. Instead, I am a person of long term recovery that is becoming the healthiest version of myself.”

Alvarado spoke about how education is key to spreading awareness and support across communities.

“If we can educate through peer programing and peer lived experience, we’re able to create that safe and courageous space for people to know that they are being seen and heard.”

Seeing ourselves in the students is what really inspired us to come back and educate […] I want to be that person I never had.

— Nadine Machkovech, executive director of Rise Together

The juniors who attended felt the impact of the assembly.

“Listening to the speakers share their stories made me feel like I wasn’t alone,” junior Alyssa Basilo said. “It’s inspiring to see people overcome their challenges and it gives me a sense of hope.”

By sharing personal struggles and offering messages of hope and resilience, Rise Together hopes to inspire students to take an active role in promoting a substance-free lifestyle and seeking support when needed.

“Be bold. The more people we can have sharing and bringing attention to [substance use] the easier it is for people to be open about it,” Machkovech said.

202 Views
Leave a Comment
Donate to The BluePrint Online
$510
$1000
Contributed
Our Goal

Your donation will support the student journalists of Hagerty High School. Your contribution helps us publish six issues of the BluePrint and cover our annual website hosting costs. Thank you so much!

More to Discover
About the Contributor
Gabriella Navarro
Gabriella Navarro, Features Editor
Gabriella Navarro is a junior at Hagerty High School, and this is her first year on staff. She enjoys reading, hanging out with her friends, and listening to Taylor Swift.
Donate to The BluePrint Online
$510
$1000
Contributed
Our Goal

Comments (0)

All Hagerty Journalism Online Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest