After attending Day on the Hill for the first time last year, I have realized the vitality and significance of being part of a larger purpose. Even though most teens are concerned with things that affect them personally, I think it is important for the youth to realize that they have the ability to influence the bigger, overarching system of government. I never knew that my opinions on modern day issues could reach the leaders of Tennessee and the country; however, as I became more involved with ASAP and the Day on the Hill program, the effects of our participation and meetings with leaders depict that our voice has the capacity to bring about change.
While I was definitely anxious speaking to incredibly important and busy leaders, their responses, concerns, and considerations of the issues presented by ASAP members eased my worries. Our meetings often revealed that the government officials were aware of the major issues. The open discussions demonstrated how our solutions to the problems could be applied to in a legal way. Before going to Nashville, I did not really understand the laws already in place to prevent substance misuse, but our meetings shed light on these laws while also highlighting the ways in which they could be made more effective in dealing with mounting problems.
It was interesting to see how the state government operated, and I have a deeper understanding of the political system. Through the Day on the Hill event, I realize that I have the ability to influence and improve our government. Also, I believe that if enough teens are aware of how important their opinions are if they are voiced, then there could be a more effective system in place to fight major problems created by substance misuse. I look forward to next year’s visit.
Student, Oak Ridge High School