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Today young people more than ever are exposed to sex, violence, drugs, and alcohol. Teaching them how to make the right choices is crucial to their development and future. Youth need to educate themselves on how to make the right choices. Santa Cruz County is fortunate to have programs that can help young people address these topics with their parents. One particular program devoted to creating awareness about the dangers of substance abuse  is the Anti Alcohol Drug Youth Coalition Team (AADYCT). It is a program from Circles of Peace a local non-profit organization. The Anti Alcohol Drug Youth Coalition Team (ADDYCT) works in the community, schools, and other groups to create awareness. Sonia Sanchez the Prevention Specialist works with youth in order to provide them with reliable information towards the important facts about substance abuse. Ms. Sanchez has been working in this field for 5 years. Her work consists of providing awareness in the community.

Ms. Sanchez was born and raised in Nogales AZ. She is a high school graduate who recently returned to college to further education. She is currently attending Cochise College Santa Cruz Provisional College completing her basics.She is working towards a Bachelor in Human Services. Ms. Sanchez is a happily married, and a mother of 3 children. Her children are what actually motivated her into wanting to get involved with youth and the kind of challenges they face. “I want youth to see me as a friend and not an enforcer,” said Ms. Sanchez.

Her main goal is to provide resources to youth that will help them make the right choice. She currently works with a group of young people who are active within the community promoting awareness. Ms. Sanchez currently facilitates a youth coalition group called Anti Alcohol Drug Youth Coalition Team (ADDYCT). The group members are: Maylette, Josh, Sebastian, Leo, Emilio, Andres, Fernando, Samantha, Gilberto, Andrea, Fernanda, Vanessa, Brianna, and Joshua. Some members were recruited, others joined for the purpose of getting involved in their community. One common thing the group has is they all enjoy being a part of this program. “One of the best things about this group in particular is their popularity. People know who we are. We have great support from the Border Patrol, Mariposa Community Health Center,” said Ms. Sanchez.

The group not only focuses on promoting awareness but it has also helped them master their social skills, learn how to work with others, build character, and self-esteem. “I had no knowledge before about what was going on in the community, and now I’m more aware of my surroundings,” said Josh.

In April, the youth coalition will be hosting a play the main topics are human trafficking, underage drinking, and gun awareness. The event will provide awareness about some of the challenges young people face. It is important to inform the community about about some of the issues are youth currently face. The coalition also received funding from the “Drug Free Communities,” which funds community coalitions to establish and strengthen collaboration between public and private agencies to reduce the substance abuse youth. If interested in being part of this coalition please contact Sonia Sanchez, Prevention Specialist at:


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