Morgan Brown ‘17: Making a difference at a young age appears difficult. Whether it’s a lack of money, resources, or time, countless obstacles seem to stand in the way of making an impact on the world. David Andrews, a Romeo alumni and a current freshman at Oakland University, proves this common misconception wrong. All you need is passion, motivation, and a story.
Andrews, who connected with the National Alliance of Mental Illness through a Romeo counselor, Ms. Famiano, now presents a project called “Ending the Silence”, in which he openly shares his story with classes at various schools around Metro Detroit.
In December, he posted a longer version of his “Ending the Silence” speech on YouTube, in which he shares his story and gives advice and motivation to those in similar situations.
“It’s not physically possible to go to every school,” Andrews said. “But if people are struggling and need some motivation, they’ll be able to go to the YouTube video.”
An avid advocate for suicide prevention, Andrews hopes to lower the increasing suicide rate among young adults, erase negative connotations and stigmas regarding mental illness, and encourage those in dark situations.
“I hope that they see that no matter how dark things are in their lives right now, things will always get better,” Andrews said. “We just have to stick around for them.”
For those going through rough times in high school, Andrews claims that there is a light at the end of the tunnel: college is a definite improvement. He embraces the lack of drama and the nonjudgmental environment of college.
“[College] has helped me grow in regards to responsibility and independence,” Andrews said. “There is no ‘popular crowd’ in college. Everyone can do their own thing and be weird, and it’s accepted.”
Making a difference in college is possible with motivation. Andrews focuses on his cause, regardless of what other people say and think, and is not afraid to push boundaries. His advice for students who seek to make their mark is to make your own path and believe in yourself.
“You’re going to have to pave the way,” Andrews said. “The key is believing in yourself. Anything that can be viewed as a setback, use as motivation.”
Here is the link to a story that David wrote for RNews last year on mental health funding: http://www.romeonews.org/mental-health-funding-its-an-issue/