Rachel’s SSDP Origin Story

Rachel’s SSDP Origin Story

I wouldn’t be where I am today without the help of SSDP supporters like you, so I would like to tell you my SSDP origin story.

Ten years ago, I was expelled from high school for drug possession. As both an honor student and a “troubled teen,” I felt so angry and disenfranchised for being punished and stigmatized, rather than approached with compassion as a struggling young person.

When I got to college at SUNY New Paltz, I joined the SSDP chapter and found my mission. I led the campaign to equalize the campus alcohol and marijuana policy, coordinated weekly drug education events, and worked on the successful SUNY-wide “Ban the Box” campaign to end discrimination against college applicants with prior felony convictions. Through SSDP, I learned that I could make a difference and that I could be a leader. 

Young people who are troubled and get into drugs shouldn’t be kicked out of school, criminalized, stigmatized, and viewed as being guilty of a moral failure. Preventing access to education does not improve a young person’s life outcome. Instead, young people should have access to education and mental health resources, and be treated with compassion, dignity, and respect. This is how young people succeed. 

SSDP’s vision of the future is a world where young people are supported, not punished. Please, help us make our vision a reality. Will you invest in our future?

From now until December 31st, all gifts made to SSDP up to $50,000 will be matched by generous supporters. Give now and your support will go twice as far. Thank you to Green Thumb Industries for being one of our matchers.