For the past two years, Tara Moreno-Wallen has identified speakers to talk to 8th graders in Flint and Atherton Community Schools as part of Health in Our Hands: “How can looking for thrills make me miserable?”
Eighth graders study substance use disorder and an important part of their journey is an interview that they conduct with a person recovering from substance use disorder from their community. From this face-to-face experience, they build a better understanding of the mechanism of addiction, and how thrill seeking can become a maladaptive behavior.
One student shared, “My main takeaways from this research is that addiction is a terrible process of pain and regret. Something that surprised me and made me think about, was that how close to home it hit me, because I had a family member go through the same thing. In all honesty, anyone can be at risk of SUD. I think people should learn from my research that addition is not fun and that it can hurt you and the ones around you.”
Ms. Moreno-Wallen is the Executive Director of Serenity House of Flint, and a member of the HiOH Flint/Genesee Partnership. The HiOH-Flint/Genesee Partnership connects our classrooms to their community by identifying classroom experts and mentoring community action research projects, listening to students’ findings and recommendations and celebrating their achievements at health summit events, and working to sustain this innovative model of science learning and community action for students in Flint and Genesee County. Experts have included nutritionists, an urban planner, and FoodCorps members.