Meena Venkataramanan is the founder of Project Clean and is a first-year student at Harvard University originally from Tucson, Arizona. She earned a 2017 Coca-Cola Scholarship for her public service, and was named one of only ten 2016 Dorothy O. Finley Outstanding Teen Citizens by the Tucson Mayor for her service to her community. Meena is passionate about youth substance abuse prevention (as you can read on the left), and serves as a Harvard Drug and Alcohol Peer Advisor, through which she educates her peers about drug and alcohol use and provides them with resources. Previously, she served as the chair of the Arizona Governor's Youth Commission Substance Abuse Committee and as the president of the Pima County Teen Court Bar Association. Today, she continues to volunteer at Teen Court, through which she educates her peers about substance abuse and helps mitigate it in her community through constructive consequences and workshops. In addition to her substance abuse prevention-related activities, she is involved with politics and public service at Harvard. She is a member of the Harvard Mock Trial team, writes for the Harvard Political Review, and teaches a civics class once a week to Boston fifth-graders. She is also part of Harvard Dharma and the Harvard South Asian Association. In her free time, she enjoys reading and spending time with friends and family.
Meena Venkataramanan became passionate about youth substance abuse prevention when she began serving her community in 2014 through Pima County Teen Court, a nonprofit diversion program and alternative to Juvenile Court that promotes restorative justice and offers constructive consequences for adolescents who have committed misdemeanors and certain felonies. Through Teen Court, she noticed that substance abuse prevention was a hidden issue that needed to be addressed in her community. She took initiative by becoming one of only 51 commissioners across the state on the Arizona Governor's Youth Commission, through which she currently serves as the Chair of the Substance Abuse Committee. After becoming involved in substance abuse prevention efforts at both local and state levels, Meena decided to start her own initiative, Project Clean, to further her efforts and raise awareness of this issue that often goes unnoticed in her community. Through Project Clean, she also hopes to mobilize her fellow youth to take the lead in alleviating this issue. She hopes you will support her initiative to combat youth substance abuse and raise awareness of this issue within your community. Please reference her Projects page to see the work she has done to combat youth substance abuse, as well as her Resources page in order to find helpful links for students, parents, and educators regarding youth substance abuse prevention.
Courtesy of Amanda Bynum Photography