Mythbuster: Amber Smith
Why I think it is important for Kansas government officials to operate in the light of day, rather than in secret, behind closed doors:
A youth leader who focuses on research-based ways to reduce substance use, without scare tactics and "just say no" messages.
Amber works with Youth Empowered Solutions (YES!), a nationally recognized youth leadership organization that focuses on empowering young people to work with adults to create community change.
Beyond "Just Say No to Drugs"
Amber is a strong believer in conveying research-based ways to reduce the use of drugs by young people, as opposed to the scare tactics and other strategies that only tell youth "to just say no".
In the last two years, Amber has mastered complicated information regarding the public health model, environmental strategies for substance abuse prevention, resource development for grassroots coalitions, and facilitation of trainings.
"In the years that I have worked with Amber Smith, I can say that she is a true mythbuster," says Aidil Hill, her supervisor at YES!
In addition to her work in drug abuse prevention, Amber also trains youth and adults around the country on effective community efforts to prevent underage drinking. Some of those efforts include changing the environments at local stores to prevent the selling of alcohol to underage customers and participating in pledge drives to change the home environments of local residents so that underage access to alcohol is eliminated.
Amber has been featured as a speaker on a national Underage Drinking Enforcement Training Center webinar and has created resources that are sent out to other organizations to help them improve their own substance abuse prevention work.
Amber attends meetings of the North Carolina Preventing Underage Drinking Initiative to make sure she is up to date on the latest info around substance abuse. "I have seen Amber be very diplomatic when adults were unprofessional about a young person being involved at the level that she has been," says Aidil. So in a way, Amber busts the myth that young people are a part of the problem. She has truly stepped up to make herself and other youth be partners in this work.
For a glimpse at the work that Amber has done as a part of YES!, check out:
- Article in Carolina Parent, "Project Alcopop Sticker Shock Campaign."
- Amber was featured as an actress in the SAMHSA video to prevent underage access to alcohol in private residences: