Music and a Positive Lifestyle: One Teen’s “Natural High”
What is Allura Garis’ Natural High? Music.
Why? She enjoys how music brings people together. She also loves the passion that her favorite musicians bring to their performances.
Allura became the Youth Engagement Coordinator for Natural High, a drug abuse prevention organization, thanks to her commitment to living a drug-free life. But it wasn’t always that way.
A Rocky Start
As a high school freshman in southern California, Allura worked with local and national rock musicians as a band promoter, helping to expose teens and young adults to new music and encouraging them to attend concerts.
Unfortunately, Allura fell in with the wrong crowd her junior year. Her new friends did drugs, and she began to drink alcohol. But it didn’t take long for Allura to realize the need to stop these destructive behaviors.
“I lost self-respect,” Allura says. “I was working so hard to get my name out in the music business and I knew acting like this wasn’t going to help.”
A Life-Changing Encounter
Allura attended the 2010 Warped Tour, where she visited Natural High’s informational tent. She took a sticker that said, “Music Is my Natural High.” Later, she looked up the organization online and watched a video featuring Cassadee Pope, winner of NBC’s “The Voice” season 3. Like Allura, Cassadee’s natural high was music. In the video, she said that she didn’t drink alcohol or do drugs because, “I don’t want to be strung out, I want to have fun on tour, I want to be lively and young….I stay away from it.”
Her words hit home with Allura: “That was a message I really needed at that moment.”
Allura emailed Natural High and asked how she could get involved. She began interning with the organization in the summer of 2010. A year later, Natural High hired her as Youth Engagement Coordinator because of her enthusiasm for helping teens choose a positive lifestyle, and for her continuing role as a youth trendsetter in the local music scene.
In summer 2013, Allura will have the chance to introduce teens to the concept of “natural high” the way she learned about it: She will coordinate Natural High’s presence at all five of the southern California stops for the Warped Tour. She’ll manage the tent, plan the campaign, research the bands, and conduct band interviews. She will also represent Natural High at the 2013 Switchfoot Bro-Am benefit festival for at-risk youth.
“This journey has come full circle for me,” Allura says. “I love that I get to remind teens that there are teens and musicians that live a drug-free lifestyle.”
Now 20 years old, Allura Garis is a college student at Mesa College in San Diego and is in charge of social media outreach for Natural High. Besides music, she loves to skateboard, play tennis and softball, and spend time outside in southern California’s beautiful, sunny weather. Her other natural high is spending time with her best friends, and she hopes to plan a trip for them to visit San Francisco this summer.