On Tuesday, an Alateen meeting was held at the Salvation Army, 213 Main Street in Malden, from 6:30 PM to 7:45 pm. The club welcomes all teenagers whose life is influenced by someone’s abuse of substances like drugs, alcohol and so on. Senior Marisa Vasquez, co-founder of Alateen, said that she “recommend[s] this [club] to people who know who are and/or are affected by a family member or friend or just anyone who had or has addiction.”
Every decisions has a reason and story behind them. For senior Sabria Bittle, the other co-founder of Alateen, her reason for being a part of Alateen is because “personally, [Alateen] is a place to vent about things [one] would not normally talk about.” Bittle said she never told anyone about her experiences before and also expressed her wish that “[she] had Alateen when she was younger. It would been much easier to deal with everything, though it is too late to say this now.”
On the other hand, from Vasquez’s perspective, Alateen offers teens “a place to talk about their experiences with other people.” She went on to explain that though she is comfortable with talking about her experience, Vasquez is aware that others might not feel the same. “[Their] goal is to get the teenagers to be comfortable talking about their experience so that they can see how much they had grown and how wiser and mature they become,” said Vasquez.
The first meeting ended well, according to Vasquez. “When people came in, they were nervous and scared but afterward, [she could] see the weight lifting off their chest as they shared their stories to others,” explained Vasquez. Vasquez explained that the club offers “relief from holding in things that you have kept in for so long.” She emphasized that the stories that these people had had been held back for so long that it was becoming unhealthy for them. They were not able share these experience with their families and friends, but Alateen gives them a chance to free themselves.
“Number does not really matter, but I really wish that more people had came to the meeting,” said Bittle. Vasquez added in that she “knew many kids who would be benefitted so much from [Alateen],” and she was happy that “many people had pulled the tabs,” which were on the flyers and included the contacts of the co-founders.
Nothing can get done without hard work and effort, and the Aleteen is not an exception. “[They] worked so hard for Alateen to be in Malden,” said Vasquez. “The nearest Alateen was in Lynnfield,” Vasquez added. She went on to explain how she and Bittle put flyers around school and had a meeting with the principle to spread the words. Along with talking with teachers and ask them to tell their students about Alateen, they also talked to people from the mayor’s office and made a Twitter page for people to reach out. “[They] also plan to make an instagram page in the future,” said Vasquez. She explained that she used her own experience during the meeting to help others who have went through a tough time. Though everyone has a different family and stores, Vasquez firmly believed that their experience is the same.
“[She has] a favorite way to say it; ‘Different paths, same journey,’” said Vasquez. “Here, at Alateen, [they] walk each other through that journey together.” If you are interested, please contact Vasquez at mv[email protected] or Bittle at [email protected]. Meetings are every Tuesday at the Salvation Army, 213 Main Street in Malden, from 6:30Pm to 7:45PM