By SAM DRAVES
HOMER, Alaska — Who is the first person you think of that works hard, is a true leader, and helps constantly in the community? Does Zoe Story come to mind? She works at the R.E.C. Room on Neilson Circle off of Ben Walters in Homer, and is a senior at HHS. The R.E.C. Room is a place for teens to hangout Monday through Thursday from 2:00 – 6:00 p.m. and do homework, play games, eat snacks and much more.
“I come to work everyday, and it is such a warm, colorful place, it just automatically puts a smile on my face,” Zoe Story said.
Zoe Story encourages everyone to do the P.H. A. T. program (Promoting Health Among Teens). The program she teaches informs students about abstinence and safe sex. The state of Alaska funds this program with a grant used to pay for travel, food for students in the class, and even participation prizes. According to Story, the R.E.C. Room loves the program because it looks at both safe sex and abstinence equally without favoring either side. Her dedication to helping teens in the community doesn’t stop at her work.
Everyone grows up and makes mistakes in the process, but Zoe Story believes there are ways to minimize them by giving people options they may have never thought about like reaching out to the community through a newspaper article called,” Become an ‘upstander’ and make a difference” which describes a way to help someone who may not be able to help him or herself. The story she wrote discusses how a simple bystander can rescue an innocent person with no protection. It includes the messiness of trying to stand up to those people everyone loves and thinks of as “cool” or “popular” but still coming to someone’s aid when they truly need it. Zoe Story knows how to get messages out to the youth in the Homer area, not just by talking, but by showing.
Her writing for the teenage audience continues with her newest article, “Enough is enough.” In this she exposes the brutality of pressure on teenage girls via the media. Through all of this, Zoe Story asks for girls and women to take the “respect challenge” and stop torturing their bodies to strive for what women in popular magazines have. Furthermore, she pledged not to read magazines and watch TV shows that puts lots of pressure on teenagers through the respect challenge. This teen proves how a few words can go a long way, finding people that take note on these outreaches in the community.
All of the work Zoe Story does throughout the community, hasn’t gone unnoticed. She was nominated for the KTUU scholarship. The award is part of fund the future which encourages students to go to college and work hard for their life ahead.
“I was awarded $3,000 for it, but I was mostly rewarded with the honor, and the reminder that the work I am doing is getting out to the people and is making a difference.”
She goes on to say that this affected her greatly, since $3,000 can be of great value to any college student, and it encourages her to apply for other scholarships out there. Her hope is to attend college next fall, and go into the health and social work field.
“I didn’t know I was even nominated until I found out that I had won,” Zoe Story said.
Photo Source: Homer News