By: Lucy Luoling Lu
The Students against substance abuse club is an ASU chartered club within the Chemical Dependence Certification Program at East Los Angeles College.
S.A.S.A stands for Students Against Substance Abuse.
The club is run by the students of East Los Angeles College with the help of psychology professor Dr. Lisa Vartanian.
Although the S.A.S.A. club is part of the Chemical Dependence Certification Program, many of its club members are students outside of the program.
“Many people have profound suffering sometime during their lives. S.A.S.A encourages the individual to make positive changes in their lives,” said S.A.S.A president Kristen Ayala.
The S.A.S.A club not only helps East Los Angeles College students make friends and connect with others, it teaches its members skills to cope with everyday stress in a healthy manner.
Club members attend board meetings where guest speakers, usually East Los Angeles College alumni, share their experiences.
“The S.A.S.A club promotes awareness of substance and addiction on campus and within the community.
“We try to inspire personal growth, encourage recovery, and support,” said Ayala.
Members of the club are encouraged to attend conference
and workshops that promote substance abuse awareness and treatment through club fundraisers.
Fundraising Coordinator Raelyn Aragon said, “We do several fundraisers on campus every month. We are usually located near the G5 parking lot on campus selling pizza, soda, and snacks.”
However, not all of the money from the S.A.S.A club fundraisers are used for conferences and workshops.
“We also raise money so that the club can do outreach in the community,” said Aragon.
The S.A.S.A club has a long standing relationship with Phoenix House Academy in Los Angeles.
Club members, along with Dr. Lisa Vartanian, have made several visits to the Phoenix House Academy throughout the year.
Phoenix House Academy is a residential treatment facility for teens affected by substance abuse and/or mental health disorders.
“We go to Phoenix House Academy to encourage its patients. They’re there all by themselves so often times we bring them snacks and toys. For Christmas, we have members write Christmas cards for them,” said Ayala.