Taryn Roberts

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Taryn Roberts

Chapter Support Coordinator

Idaho Drug Free Youth

Coeur d’Alene, Idaho

(208) 664-4339 http://www.idahodrugfreeyouth.org

Age: 22

Salary: $4,000 a year, for about 10 hours a week.

Her Job: Roberts coordinates IDFY’s 52 chapters and its approximately 3,000 members, most of whom are school counselors or coaches. She helps to make sure the chapters are running smoothly and have sufficient resources. She also solicits merchants around the state to sponsor activities and provide discounts for IDFY members. In the summer, she works as a youth staff counselor, photographer and videographer at IDFY camps.

Best Part of the Job: “Probably just the connections we have around the state. We see a lot of support from the city, and we work right alongside the Alliance for Children and Families and the probation officers and school counselors. … And it’s just amazing to see kids grow up and go through the program and see all the things that they accomplish.”

Worst Part of the Job: “There are just three of us in the office. The program is expanding so fast that we could have 10 people working in here and still not have everything done.”

Memorable Moment: “Last year at a youth summit that we had, I had one boy who was in my family group, which are basically the peer mediating groups.” … During a campfire on the last night, “he explained how youth summit had changed him into a better person, but he also mentioned that the reason he kept coming back was because of a co-facilitator I had at the time, and myself, and how we had made such a huge impact on his life. That was amazing!”

Best Activity: “The Summer Youth Summit is a blast. It’s what I look forward to every year. We do the planning for the camps, but as soon as they get into their groups, the youth decide what they are going to use and take back to their community. It’s the major time of year everyone does the connecting and networking, and basically the bonding to build support and re-energize them for the rest of the year. It’s what keeps kids wanting to come back and get involved with the program.”

Low Pay: Roberts works other jobs to make ends meet. “It’s not really that annoying. … I sometimes get more scattered in managing my time, but it keeps me focused on a lot of different activities and things, so I like it.”

Drug Problems: “Alcohol is the biggest one” among local youth. “One of the big shockers is meth, which is beginning to be huge.” Methamphetamine is “not necessarily what they are using most, but it used to be unheard of, and now it’s pretty common and climbing.”

Youth Struggle: It can be difficult for the youth to stay focused on the IDFY mission while situations at school tempt them to deviate from it. “Most of their trouble is just with peer pressure.”

 – Alexis Vaughan