Spotlight on Ev Ciaburri and AJ Garstang

(Pictured from left to right: Ev, Gabe, Morgan and AJ)

Youth Council Spotlight by Morgan Maccione and Gabriel LeBlanc.

Evelyn Ciaburri and AJ Garstang have led the STEPS Youth Council for the past four years, which is group comprised of middle and high school students from Southington. STEPS stands for Southington’s Town-wide Effort to Promote Success. STEPS is a community coalition focused on promoting healthy living. It represents all twelve community sectors that make up the town of Southington. The Youth Council focuses specifically on substance use prevention. We propose ideas to combat drug-use among youth.    

Ev and AJ deserve to be in the spotlight because of their ability to lead and positively influence the kids in our town. They serve as role models to us and all of the other Youth Council members. They continually encourage us to speak our minds and stand up for the things and ideas we support. Even beginning with the interview prior to being admitted to the council, they showed their understanding and compassion. They treat us as the young adults we strive to be and show us the respect that we deserve. Their treatment of us not only builds our confidence, but also prepares us for future opportunities.

My name is Morgan Maccione and I have been a part of the Youth Council for four years. I can recall going into my interview the summer prior to my freshman year both excited and nervous. I felt honored just to be nominated to be in the group, so I was excited that I could actually be a part of it. I was nervous, however, because I was shy and worried about how I would be viewed. Ev and AJ could not have been any kinder. I have become more outgoing and willing to participate. I believe that being a part of such a supportive group and being around encouraging adults has helped me to reach outside of my comfort zone. Over the last few years, I have grown to know them quite well, and I know that they are dedicated to the values of STEPS and have a true passion for bettering our community. I am truly honored to have met such great people. They serve as great role models to myself and other Youth Council members.

My name is Gabriel LeBlanc and this is my second year on the Youth Council. Like Morgan, I was very nervous before interviewing for the Council, but when I first met Evelyn, who interviewed me, any initial stress that I had felt went away. From the start, I knew that Evelyn was someone whom I could openly communicate with, knowing that my thoughts would be both accepted and considered. When I met AJ at my first Youth Council meeting, I felt the same way. I have always had a strive to contribute to my community, and both Ev and AJ have guided and motivated us in making a difference while valuing our ideas for making Southington a better place to live. In all, Evelyn and AJ absolutely deserve this spotlight for their outstanding leadership and contributions to the Youth Council.