By Sarah Stubbs
“I Am Enough” is a project that started with a group of young adults in Hancock County who wanted to make a stand against the all-too-common misuse of prescription drugs.
Created in May of 2014, the project was originally created for drug and alcohol awareness in Findlay’s elementary and high schools.
Since then, the organization has expanded to address a wider audience and an even wider array of issues – all thanks to a student and faculty member duo at The University of Findlay. Traci Willis, senior social work major and president of UF’s chapter of “I Am Enough,” said that broadening this scope means addressing issues beyond substance abuse.
“UF’s chapter of ‘I Am Enough’ is an outlet for positivity, self-confidence, body acceptance, and an encouragement of healthy living,” Willis said.
Willis said that it was her familial experience with substance abuse that led her to “I Am Enough.” In 2011, her oldest brother passed away from an accidental heroin overdose.
“My family was devastated. From that moment on, I became an advocate for drug awareness. In 2012, my senior year of high school, I participated in multiple public speaking events and was an active member in community organizations across Richland County. In 2014, I independently organized Ohio’s first candle-lighting memorial for International Overdose Awareness Day,” Willis said.
Joyce Jackson, assistant professor of health and education at UF, is the faculty adviser to UF’s chapter of “I Am Enough.” The UF-specific chapter was made a reality through a joint effort of Willis and Jackson, and was a direct product of their friendship.
“I met Dr. Jackson in a wellness course. Impressed by her knowledge and similar passions, I confided in her about my brother and history of advocacy. She referred me to the ADAMHS [Alcohol, Drug Addiction, and Mental Health Services] board and throughout the years, we attended a few of their monthly meetings,” Willis said.
Jackson and Willis took their experiences and time at ADAMHS meetings and are now directly applying this knowledge and skill to their leadership roles on campus in “I Am Enough.”
“We agreed to create the ‘I Am Enough’ on-campus organization at the end of last year, and we are pleased to see that it has been a success so far,” Willis said. “We have always felt passionate about the subjects that ‘I Am Enough’ stands to promote.”
According to Willis, this is not the first time “I Am Enough” has been present on campus, but it is the first time the University has decided to create its own entity. The mission statement for UF’s chapter of “I Am Enough” is on their constitution and says that their duty is to “advocate for acceptance of individuality, encouraging kindness, healthy routines and positive living for The University of Findlay Students and the surrounding community.”
On Sept. 25, “I Am Enough” held a banner signing “Pay it Forward Campaign” where students left their handprints on a black banner decorated with the club’s yellow logo to show their support. The banner will be entered into the Homecoming competition.
They are also planning a joint event with Findlay elementary and high school chapters for the Findlay community’s annual Halloween parade. If interested in the mission of “I Am Enough,” you can follow UF’s “I Am Enough” chapter on Instagram @UF_iamenough and like their page on Facebook: UF I Am Enough.
To join the “I Am Enough” email list, contact Willis at firstname.lastname@example.org.