CONTACT Meet the Natural High 2017 Video and Essay winner, finalists - Dr. Christian Thurstone

We’re big fans of Natural High, a California-based nonprofit organization that is rooted in sound prevention science and provides free resources to help guide youth “to reach their fullest potential and say no to drugs.”

Through the powerful and personal storytelling of dozens of celebrities and inspiring teens, Natural High helps youth understand that sobriety is a major key to the discovery and pursuit of personal passions and the accomplishment of great things. Each year, hundreds of young people participate in the organization’s video and essay contest to explain how they have embraced drug-free living to achieve their “natural high.”

The contest’s 2017 winner is Jaiden Gallery of Medford, Ore. Her poignant essay explains that her natural high is soccer because it has helped her overcome some of the challenges of growing up surrounded by drugs and alcohol.

“Drugs and alcohol make you forget what’s important. Like family, jobs, bills, and even your physical health,” Jaiden wrote. “My parents were always doing drugs with me and my siblings around. It has not only affected their lives, but my siblings and mine as well. I live with one of my brothers and my grandparents because my parents weren’t capable of taking care of my siblings and me. It was definitely harder growing up because of drugs and alcohol. There’s a constant fear of being taken away from your parents and being put into foster care. Some people don’t realize how lucky they are that they grew up in a nice home with parents who actually looked after them.”

Meet the finalists

Finalist Brynli Swallow submitted this video about her natural high: dance.

Finalist Joel Royster: “Track helps me … because I have to stay healthy, and I have to stay out of trouble.”

Finalist Mary Kaye Anderson wrote: “My 10th grade year, I made sure theatre was on my schedule, and I can honestly say joining theatre was the best decision I have ever made.” Read the rest of her essay here.

About Christine Tatum

Christine Tatum is a veteran journalist whose communications and market intel firm, Media Salad, Inc., helps companies and nonprofit organizations win business and stay ahead of their competitors. Her professional stops include the Chicago Tribune, The Denver Post, the (Arlington Heights, Ill.) Daily Herald and the (Greensboro, N.C.) News & Record. Her work also has appeared in The Wall Street Journal, and New York Times.

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