Congratulations to Aron Silvestre on graduating from Goffstown High School!!!! Aron has been a dedicated member of empowerYOUTH since the 7th grade.  We are so impressed by Aron’s drive, positivity, compassion, and innovative spirit.  We are excited to see what the future has in store for Aron because we know he will be doing amazing things! Here is an interview we did with Aron regarding his experiences with empowerYOUTH and plans for the future. Thank you Aron for all you have contributed!

What made you take part in empowerYOUTH?

When I was in seventh grade I was invited to be a part of the youth form. The leader of that club was called Dian Mccarthy. After attending some meeting on how to make our school better I was invited to rejon in eight grade. At the end of my time in middle school she invited me to go to a three day training. It was called CADCA(Community anti drug coalition). That is when I met the staff of Empower Youth. After the three day tanning I was hooked. What made me partake in all the events was how leaving each meeting made me feel like I could make a difference in the world. Whether it be to stop other kids from missing drugs, or telling people that alcohol isn’t as cool as they thought it was. 

What has been your best experience or favorite memory as an empowerYOUTH member?

There are too many happy memories to choose from. Not only was I doing work that I enjoyed doing, I was doing it with friends. That being said, it never felt like work. Some parts of my experience that I will never forget were my first rannings where I learned how to properly communicate with adults. After that it would be the training kids about over the counter medication when I was in high school. 

Like I said , there are many great memories to pick from but a moment that will stick with me for a long time is the podcast that I did this year. My friends Quincy, Vidhur, and Oliva were talking about what we should include in our podcast one night and we talked about pressures to succeed, and mental health. In less than a month we were talking about our personal experience in the subjects. While the podcast was going on, I sat back in my chair and thought to myself how lucky I was to be in a room with other students who were willing to change the world. It wasn’t after giving a huge speech on why doing drugs is bad, it was doing the behind-the-scenes work that will stay with me. 

Would you recommend empowerYOUTH to your younger peers?

I would recommend empowerYOUTH to my younger peers. For one, teens learn basic communication skills working alongside adults to come to conclusions. Two, learning to be a leader is fun. It’s not all work, it’s getting to know others, but more so getting to know your own skill set and taking advantage of the opruintys in front of us. Three, there is nothing more invigorating than working hard for a presentation to come together, seeing the audience on the edge of their seats, then fellow youth coming up to you and saying thank you for teaching me what I didn’t learn from teachers.  

What are your imparting words of wisdom?

My imparting words of wisdom would be to push yourself to the limit. Set yourself on overload and see what you can accomplish. If you are scared to do a speech, know that the crowd doesn’t know that. Know that the risk is low, and the reward of taking that chance is high. Be creative in your word, find solutions that others can’t see. Talk to people who don’t have the same opinions as you and understand their point of view. Soak it in, and understand how in the future you can help support others in their situation.  

How do you wish to be remembered by the work that you did- your legacy?

I would wish to be remembered by always being positive. Even though I had a bad day, a cup of coffee would fix me right up. I would want my legacy to be that even though most of my work pertains to drug misuse, alcoholism, and suicide prevention, that we can tackle these courageous conversations with a positive attitude. 

What are your plans past high school?

Right now I plan to attend Southern New Hampshire University. I plan to study Business Administration. I will live at home 

Who were the people that influenced you so far?

So far the people that have influenced me the most are John Webb. he has always been a shining light in a dark room. He is a guidance counselor and has shown me how to be a better person by understanding myself first. Another person that has influenced me is Tina Philibotte. She is my college composition and dance teacher at Goffstown. They have taught me to be articulate. They have shown me how to focus my talking and writing. 

Is there a memory you can share with us of another empowerYOUTH member that makes you happy or because it was funny, inspirational etc..?

An alum to empowerYOUTH is Kathryn Carlson. On Wednesday, December 12 Kat and I went to Howes Pharmacy in Goffstown. WMUR came and filmed both of us placing stickers on their bag for the sticker campaigns. They invited her to talk in front of the camera. While she was talking I just stood still, everything was quiet. She answered a few questions. However, her replies got to me. She said, “drugs are bad because they’re bad”. For whatever reason that made me laugh hysterically. I will never forget that moment because it always makes me smile. It reminds me that this work is adult-like, but that at its root can be taught with simple language.

Nothing can stop you now. Your next adventure awaits, and we’re excited to see where it leads you. Caps off to you, Aron! Well done!