Class of 2023 SRSLY Seniors Share Their Hopes for the Next Generation
SRSLY Chelsea is saying goodbye to five incredible seniors, and excitedly welcoming a generation of more than 30 new student team members.
“Proud doesn’t even begin to cover it. These seniors have left a lasting impact on this coalition,” said Kate Yocum, SRSLY Director. “I’m so sad to say goodbye, but seeing them inspire a new group of kids to get involved has been such a powerful testament to the mental health and substance abuse prevention work we do.”
The coalition wants to give a voice to these seniors one last time. The graduating SRSLY class has a message for the next generation, and they’re sharing the difference being involved with SRSLY made for them, what they loved about the experience and why they hope future students will continue to join.
“I hope other students will join after me so they can bring their own new perspectives to SRSLY’s work. SRSLY provided me a place that always made me feel included and heard. I always felt respected and comfortable with everyone there,” said Amelia Christie, long-time SRSLY member and 2023 graduate.
“I joined SRSLY because I know what it’s like to go through mental health challenges and I wanted to help others find an outlet to learn about their mental health,” said graduating Chelsea student Lia Spink. “One of my favorite projects was our How to be THAT Adult campaign. I hope when adults read it, they will get a new perspective on how teens feel.”
Gabby Bolt, who joined SRSLY her last semester at Chelsea, shared her experience with the coalition, and the chance to hold a leadership role. “I reached out to SRSLY to connect with people, and to get involved in mental health and substance abuse awareness work.”
“I want students to know it’s fun! You get to plan events, design merch, and get more involved in your community. SRSLY also gave me a positive environment to grow and flourish. I was able to form relationships with other students in SRSLY while also working towards bettering society.” said Bolt.
SRSLY wants families to know their teens can get involved at any time.
“We have students I joke have seniority over me,” said Yocum. “Some have been a part of SRSLY since 2015, others like Gabby reached out their senior year.”
Whether the teen leaves SRSLY with five service hours or 5,000, the coalition values them and their unique contributions. This year’s class included students who volunteered with SRSLY as early as elementary school. Nicolette Rivers is one of them.
“My favorite memories with SRSLY are definitely from our 2021 rebrand, when we started focusing on mental health and completely changed our style of work and planning (shoutout to Kate!),” said Rivers, a member since fifth grade. “SRSLY provided me with so many additional resources beyond our main focus of substance abuse and mental health too, personal things like my goals, future, and relationships that I wouldn’t have otherwise.”
When asked what singular takeaway she has from her seven years with the coalition, Rivers said, “I believe this work is really important, and that we are truly making a difference and solving problems. I hope others get involved because of that.”
In addition to making a difference they can see in their own community, SRSLY Student Team members also receive service hours for their work, graduation cords, and a chance at earning a scholarship upon graduating.
“We want to honor our 2023 scholarship recipients, Lia and Amelia, for their time and dedication to the coalition,” said Yocum. “Being able to provide two graduating seniors with these awards and financial assistance for their futures is one of my favorite things we do.”
SRSLY Chelsea's method of supporting youth mental health and preventing substance abuse through action, education, and advocacy is a multi-pronged approach developed by the teens who run it. The work maintains its relevance and efficacy through connecting with each current generation of Chelsea students. The 2023 class, and incoming SRSLY classes of 2024-2028 hope their community continues its support of this work, whether through donations, the gift of time, or simply spreading awareness of the work SRSLY does.
To learn more about the work SRSLY is doing for Mental Health and substance abuse prevention, visit srsly.org or find us on Facebook @srslychelsea. To donate, please visit https://giving.stjoeshealth.org/srsly.