chaseThe PEERS Project has partnered with Radio One to share the stories of several teens and how they choose to live healthy lifestyles. You can hear these stories at:

PEERS has thousands of teen leaders like these around the state who are choosing to avoid risky behaviors. For the next four weeks we will share their stories here.

As a child we were pushed on the swing by our mother, father or a parent figure. For me it was my mother whom always pushed me on the swing. “I’ll give you one underdog then you got to swing by yourself: Ready… set…go,” she shouts as she pushes me as high as she could, and then makes a sudden run under me. Then to the park bench she goes to watch her “little birdy” swing by herself.

Learning how to swing by yourself without that head start of an underdog can be rough at first, but once you get the swing of things it seems pretty simple. You have to learn to be ready for the world even if you don’t feel as if you are quite ready yet. Learning to push yourself can seem as if one of the hardest challenges in the world, but in the end all you really have is yourself and your own two feet to lead you, or swing you as high as you wish to go.

Joining the Peers Project has made me realize that I’m not alone. I may have struggled to push myself as high as I could but I did it, I succeeded. There are many kids who went through or are going through the same things. You’re never alone. I’m ready to jump off the swing and walk by myself. Therefore I am ready for the world and whatever it has to offer for me.

by: Chase-Marie Rider, 17