Wausau teen receives national award for drug advocacy - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

Wausau teen receives national award for drug advocacy

WAUSAU (WAOW) - A Wausau teen is being nationally recognized for her efforts in fighting substance abuse.

Bailey Eschmann remembers the first time she heard about the AOD Partnership. That stands for alcohol and other drugs.

"They said we need a youth representative, and I didn't really know what it was,” said Eschmann. “But I went and I kinda just fell in love with the cause."

After going to her first meeting, organizers in Marathon County knew there was something special about her.

"I think what makes Bailey really stand out is that she's fearless," said Melissa Dotter, a drug free community leader.

Determination lead Eschmann to start the Youth for Youth Program. She speaks to other students about issues including drugs and alcohol. After three years of the program, advocates wanted to recognize her nationally.

"When I saw it come through I was like 'wow' this is a great opportunity to be able to recognize someone that does such a great job," said Dotter.

Eschmann was entered into an online contest called Top 24 Under 24 Drug Mythbusters. It recognizes young adults who raise awareness about drugs.

"She sent me an email and said I signed you up for this and I said good,” said Eschmann. “I had no idea."

That was in the beginning of the month. Now, she has a different email.

"Congratulations you won," said Eschmann.

She was one of the top 24.

"I was thrilled, I was excited,” said Eschmann. “I yelled woohoo in my cubicle."

She's still in shock, even though she says it's tough to balance advocating for her cause with other things in her life.

"I had to quit my job because I had so many things going on," said Eschmann.

But she says she's happy she's stuck with it, and Eschmann hopes others find something they love to do just like she did.

"I always say you have to have a passion for what you do or you shouldn't be doing it,” said Eschmann. “So that's what kind of keeps me going."

Organizers of the contest say they want to bring all 24 winners together. Eschmann is not sure when that meeting will be.

If you want to get involved in the AOD Partnership like Eschmann, click here: http://healthymarathoncounty.org/alcohol-other-drugs/

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