Just a little catch up about my recent experience with schools, one a high school and one a university.
Last Friday I spoke to seven classes of students at a local high school. I was scheduled for 5 but another teacher had heard about what I was doing and ask me if I would speak to his classes at the end of the day. The first 5 periods went very well. Vicki was there and she really made a impact. She brought pictures of her son and told the students that I was lucky, I could see and hold my son, he got a chance to find recovery. She only had pictures and letters to remember her son.She read a very touching letter her son wrote her less than 6 months before he died. Vicki was wonderful to share all of this with the class. This was the first time she had spoken publicly about her son's death to a group.
You never know what will happen when speaking to students. All day I saw students dabbing at tears in their eyes. Who knows what is going on in their life to react like this. I let them know publicly no one has to go through loving an addict alone.
I changed my presentation from what is posted on YouTube. I made it even more personal and no slides. Just me telling a story about what poor choices and addiction leads too in life.
A couple of story's about what happened that day. A student after I was all done and the room was empty, just me picking up my papers, she came in stood and front of me and she said, "Today is day 14." No explanation is needed. Maybe it isn't politically correct in schools but I hugged her. Ask her how she was doing and she said she is going to Ala-Teen meetings. At the end of one class presentation a student hung around and come up to me, his lip was quivering, He stuck out his hand to shake my hand. I shook his hand, he held on long and then bolted from the room not saying a word. A student came to me after all of this had happened and during the presentation I ask everyone to go home and talk to their parents about drugs. A girl comes back to me and says she had called her mom on the phone to tell her about my talk. Her mom told her to find me and thank me for what I had done and that she had heard of me and seen my blog. So she was coming in to tell me what her mom said. I usually turn off my phone during these days and when I turned it back on I had a message, a student had left me a message. He wanted to make a donation to my son and I. I then spoke to him on the phone and ask him to make that donation to The Partnership or another organization that helps addicts struggling today to find recovery.
THANK YOU VICKI, for what you did that day. You are brave, you are strong and you made a difference that morning in the lives of students. You did well by Travis, I know he would have been proud.
New story. Last Fall a student at Bournemouth University located in the United Kingdom ask if she could interview me for her university project. We exchanged e-mails and she interviewed me on Skype. Stacey Amer is a journalism student at BU. Her paper on the effects of addiction on a family was re-written and published on the university's website under lifestyle and health. You can find her article here: The Young Still Use; A Parents Perspective
It's hard to know for sure if I have a long term effect on those I speak too about this subject. But I choose to believe that it is helping them so I am going to keep at it until I run out of places that will have me.
Off the school subject here is a video of the First Call Gratitude Luncheon. I attended this luncheon a few weeks ago. William Moyers Jr. was the keynote speaker. At the 1:20 mark you can see a picture of Vicki and I together. I'm the ugly guy in the middle and she is the beautiful lady in red.