FLOBEL ADVISOR MARIE SHULTIS AND AWARENESS INC.
FLOBEL Advisor Marie Shultis is one of the mentoring adults of the Ulster County based NGO, AWARENESS Inc. AWARENESS is a teen initiated program with adult guidance that provides students with opportunities to think critically about substance abuse. In the beginning stages of the organization high school students ages 16 – 18 years old met at a youth center and college students and 18-21 year olds met at SUNY New Paltz’s Campus AWARENESS Club formed in 2011. In these forums students brainstorm about how to expand and teach more youth about substance use, abuse and addiction.
The unique peer to peer program of AWARENESS Inc. helps young people to determine what they should and should not do in the face of mood altering substances. “90% of youth in 2014/2015 program identified a need to change their behavior” after completing the 8-week program. AWARENESS utilizes the power of group activity and team bonding as a method for participants to identify their own issues and ultimately begin the process of behavioral change. Marie Shultis, adult mentor and supporter of the NGO sat down with Nectar News to discuss the mission and growth of the program in a special Nectar Publications interview.
NN: What inspired the development of the NGO and your work with young people who are struggling with substance abuse?