To Radmila Doder (20) from Serbia, engagement with the Youth Initiative means…

 

… a life changing experience

Participating in the Youth Forum 2013 was a  "life changing experience" for Radmila. She learned key information on how to tackle issues on drug prevention.

  "At the Youth Forum I learned essential  things like that the key is not to say drugs are bad, but to promote healthy life styles, strengthening families and providing young people with activities and opportunities."

 Also, Radmila gained new experiences such as engaging with participants from other countries.

  "I learned a lot, not only about drug prevention and policy. Also, about other nations, international cooperation and how many things we have in common even though we come from different parts of the world."

 It was striking for Radmila to connect with youth from all over the world and to realize how much they all have in common. The level of profession and engagement in drug prevention and health promotion activities of other participants inspired her.

 

… friendship

For Radmila, the Youth Initiative also means friendship. She has stayed in contact with the other Youth Forum participants until now, and one of them, Marcelo from Peru, has become a great personal friend of her. They are in close contact with each other, talking on a regular basis, and also organizing online drug prevention and health promotion campaigns and activities together! They took a leading role in organizing an international video campaign ( https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3tupzGRkh0M&feature=youtu.be) to break the myth on "Punishing drug users will help to tackle the world drug problem", taking part to the Youth Initiative Get The Facts and Break the Myths Campaign. In the video messages from different Youth Initiative Members and their fellow Youth Forum participants are compiled in to one powerful statement showing how unified the voice and opinion of youth is globally.

  "I have learned so many things and you know, when you hear so much relevant information from experts during some sessions, that's really amazing and it was definitely one of the experiences I will not forget to the end of my life"

 

ongoing activism
Participating in the Youth Forum gave Radmila new perspectives on how to implement drug prevention and health promotion activities. Radmila discovered that punishing the ones that use drugs or spreading scary facts among youth are not effective and that the focus should be on the promotion of a healthy lifestyle. This experience strengthened the interest of Radmila in issues of drug policy and drug prevention. Back in Serbia, she got engaged in two projects within her community:

- " Grab your future" is a project that aims to organize leisure events that enrich the life of the peer youth. For example, depending on the interests of the participating students they organize language courses or other similar activities and opportunities.

- "Youth Festival" - members of "Grap your future" project organize and facilitate youth activities in a local festival in order to facilitate the connection between local youth and the rest of the community.

In her daily life, both personally and in relation to her prevention activities, broad youth networks mostly connected via social media are an important tool that allow her and her peers to share ideas on drug prevention as widely as possible.

  "Whenever I can, I try to share facts. Social networks are a really good way to share information and influence people."