Matt Mazzola, a Ridgefield High School sophomore, shook hands with Selectwoman Maureen Kozlark after being named a student representative to the Ridgefield Prevention Council. That’s Selectwoman Di Masters in the background. —Macklin Reid photo

A high school soccer player active in the Youth To Youth program, Matthew Mazzola has been named a student representative to the Ridgefield Prevention Council.

The organization seeks to combat drug and alcohol abuse.

Matt, a sophomore at Ridgefield High School and captain of the junior varsity soccer team, appeared before the Board of Selectmen Wednesday, Oct. 17, seeking appointment to a student seat on the prevention council that had previously been filled by his brother.

“I would like to continue his mission,” Matt told the selectmen. “Just trying to get the word out that you don’t need drugs to live.”

Youth To Youth promotes communication, leadership, good decision-making, and drug-free living by young people.

Matt is working to get students and high school athletes excited about the coming the appearance of Chris Herren, the former basketball star who saw drug use destroy his career as a player for the Boston Celtics. Mr. Herren, who is now in recovery from drug use, will be the main speaker at this year’s Family University program at Ridgefield High School on Nov. 15 from 7 to 9.

“We’re trying to promote that,” he told the selectmen.

Before voting unanimously to appoint him to the council, the selectmen asked questions. One was whether he felt the adults in town had an exaggerated perception of drug and alcohol abuse among young people.

“It’s definitely not overstated,” he said.

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