Nineteen high school students from across the state serve on Hawaii Meth Project’s Teen Advisory Council in order to reach out to their peers by working with its advisers to plan events the organization hosts in schools.
One such individual is 17-year-old Hannah Carnes, a senior at Kalaheo High School. She started volunteering with Hawaii Meth Project four years ago through her school’s student council, and became more involved last year when she applied for the group’s Teen Advisory Council.
“I think one of my favorite parts is all of the new friends I’ve made,” she says. “I’ve gotten to meet a lot of people.”
Carnes also serves as student body president and oversees the council.
“I brought in the Hawaii Meth Project to my school because of my responsibility as a Teen Council Advisory member, and it was part of my senior project this year,” she explains.
That project attempts to improve the processes already in place for Hawaii Meth Project event-planning.
Carnes created a guide for schools to use to help plan their events, and in the initial test stages she used Kalaheo High School and her former intermediate school (Kailua Intermediate), along with Hilo High School.
“The goal is for it to be fully ready to use for all events, hopefully this next school year,” Carnes adds.
The three pilot schools participated and reviewed the guide, offering constructive feedback to Carnes.
Graduation is just around the corner for this young woman, and she hopes to major in a field related to event planning in the future.
“I’m not really sure where I’d be, as far as whether I’d be working for a hotel or a company, or even Hawaii Meth Project,” she says of her future aspirations.
Carnes’ senior project is not only helping her accomplish her schoolwork and earn her special DOE diploma, but it also will help Hawaii Meth Project be more efficient and accessible to a number of school student-leadership groups that wish to work with the organization.
“With her guidebook, these student groups will be able to plan what types of projects and activities Hawaii Meth Project has available to them,” explains Hawaii Meth Project program director Georgi DeCosta. “(We can) use this as a tool in schools across the state.”
DeCosta first met Carnes during the 2013 Chinese Lunar New Year Festival and learned how busy the high school student was at that point.
“When she joined our advisory council in May of 2013, I got to know her much more and realized what a powerhouse she is in making things happen,” DeCosta says. “She is very focused and driven, as far as getting the job done, and she has fun doing it.”