My name is Robert Geiler and I am 13 years old. I am a student in the SADD Program at the Yuma Family YMCA. I joined the Castle Dome SADD Program in 7th grade to help better influence my friends and classmates not to use drugs. I have been part of the Anti-Smoking group at my middle school for the last two years teaching Elementary School children about the dangers of smoking and secondhand smoke. The SADD Program seemed like a great opportunity to take that message further and really learn about what affects our community. I feel that the SADD Program has helped me develop my ability to educate my community and friends, plus I’m able to talk to anyone about the dangers of drugs and peer pressure that we experience daily. Drugs are a constant problem for those of us living in the desert southwest. Yuma has lost several kids to overdoses on Fentanyl in the last year. Even in middle school, there is always the possibility that drugs may be effecting your friends and classmates. As young adults, we need to be aware of what affects us and surrounds us here at home.
The Yuma Family YMCA SADD Program has helped me not only meet new teens my age but also to develop friendships abroad. Our SADD group just returned from the 2019 SADD National Conference in Phoenix. Our chapter was able to send 4 students to the Conference. We had 3 days of workshops and we got to hear some great speakers, including Michael Phelps. Not only did I learn a lot, but also I made a new group of friends from across the nation who are passionate about helping others. We had a great time at the conference and outside of the conference, thanks to my SADD Program Coordinator, Rebbecca who planned an amazing and safe trip. I can honestly say that I cannot wait to attend the conference in St. Louis, Missouri next year and am thankful for the opportunity to participate in such an amazing organization!
When I say the YMCA has brought me out of my shell, I mean it. I am able to not only approach people and educate them but I am knowledgeable. Between the Yuma Family YMCA and the Yuma County Anti-Drug Coalition, I have been able to attend informational meetings here in Yuma and approach any topic from Mental Health, Teen Suicide, Drug Use, Juuling and Vaping, and many more. I am excited to continue this journey with the Yuma Family YMCA and excited to grow our chapter into more schools in the Yuma area. I really enjoy the Yuma Family YMCA, the staff is always there to help, and I know that I can go to any of them at any time. None of these adventures would be possible without the Yuma Family YMCA and those who run this program. Thank you to Annie, Rebbecca and Linda for everything you do for our students and community!