Submitted by Jessica Hutchings
For multiple years I had the absolute privilege of working with Whitney through the Face2Face Program. With the Face2Face Program we partner with volunteers in recovery to educate the community on the reality of addiction. Whitney was always so eager and excited to get involved in Face2Face activities, whether it was meeting with an adolescent early on with their experimentation through our Early Intervention Program or sharing her personal journey with addiction. Whitney conveyed to so many that addiction does not discriminate. I personally remember the satisfaction Whitney would get after participating and knowing that in some way shape or form, she had made a difference in somebody’s life. Even after completing her inpatient treatment, Whitney remained very involved within the Face2Face Program because she always wanted to give back.
I can say without hesitation that Whitney was one of the most selfless individuals that I had ever met and always left those she interacted with in a better mood. One of my favorite qualities of Whitney’s was her sense of humor. Despite the seriousness of the topics she was discussing, she always made people feel comfortable and smile. This also translated into the program staff she worked with as we always knew if we were spending the day with Whitney, we were going to have fun, laugh, and most importantly, make a difference. This sometimes included a concert or sing along on the way to presentations, many jokes, and laughs, as well as great conversations.
This is how I will always remember Whitney: a pure, genuine, kindhearted, funny young lady who would jump at the opportunity to help someone else. Whitney’s story continues to be shared in the form of a previously recorded documentary and through the words of her sister Brianna, who also shares Whitney’s passion for helping others by educating them about the reality of addiction.
Our world is undoubtedly a better place because of Whitney and the impact she made, and I would like to share some feedback from students who had the privilege of hearing Whitney speak:
“Your story was very influential and made me have a new perspective on the life of drugs and alcohol. It actually made me confront a friend of mine who was thinking of using a dangerous drug and try to change her mind. I really appreciate you opening up to us!”
“Whitney's story was truly touching. It made me look back and realize some of the poor decisions I had made and give me hope for the future.”
“I always knew that drugs were real out there, but I think having someone talk in front of us and actually tell their story kind of made it even more real. We’ve had adults that have not experienced it for themselves talk but having someone who actually went through it was more informative to me.”
“Hey Whitney, I was really proud of you to speak in front of all of us. I have a family member that is going through the same thing and after hearing you speak, I realize I should go get that person help because no matter what I do or say it will not help him out any more so I am going to get help now. Thank you for coming to Starpoint High school”
Whitney's story is still being shared by her sister, Bri Jaynes: