The following is an e-mail I received from a teacher whose classes attended our presentations. It was a very moving letter for me. Just the fact that some of these kids went home and talked to their parents about this stuff is a win in my book. I just wanted to share this, maybe there could be others out there that could share your own experiences. That is how to stop this monster, stop it by using education and experience.
I am so thankful, and appreciative that you are now speaking with young people about your story. Today I had two of my three health classes who attended the presentation.
Today I had scheduled/planned on a 45 minute follow-up discussion opportunity, and a different addiction activity/assignment for the last 40 minutes of today's class time. However, both classes ended up spending the entire 85 minutes in discussion because of the impact of your story. It was so amazing that at times I had chill bumps because of the stories that students shared about their personal and family experiences relating to addiction and marijuana use.
It was a very powerful day today. We had students validate your story with their stories. We had students courageously open up and speak about family members who have turned to prostitution. We had questions about date rape or acquaintance rape, stories about how friends went from being "A" students to "F" students. We shared with each other stories of parents who are now incarcerated due to addiction. Every conversation or comment today was powerful. We had kids LISTENING to each other and asking each other questions. Supporting each other. We had kids say that they went home and talked with their parents. And those parents shared stories of their struggles, or of their siblings who struggle with addiction. Stories that the kids did not know about their families until you visited our school. We had students go home yesterday and call their grandparents and share your story.
I could go on and on about what our discussions unpacked and discovered about the dangers of drugs.
Every student commented/agreed with each other on how grateful and important it was to have you tell them WHAT WILL HAPPEN IF YOU CHOOSE DRUGS. And, NOT tell them "Don't Do Drugs!" Like you said, they've heard that over and over but with no association of what will actually happen if one initially chooses to use drugs.
It was an amazing eye-opening opportunity for the kids to hear you and Erica speak. Today was amazing as well. I am truly amazed at your courage to share with us your story.
I am thankful for you and your daughter. I am thankful that Alex has a family who will continue to love him unconditionally. I pray that he will be clean today.
Please tell him hello for me. Please keep in touch. I would love to have you visit again next fall. Take good care.
(teacher's name withheld)