Over 1 million young people suffer from a substance use disorder .
The Young Leadership Program of Facing Addiction is comprised of students who have witnessed first-hand the suffering and sometimes fatal results of addiction and drug overdose, the number one cause of death in people under 30 years of age. These young leaders contribute time to their local communities to open up a dialogue that faces addiction head on and confronts both the lack of knowledge and the stigma of this epidemic through awareness-building programs and special fundraising events. What is uniquely effective about this program is that it is kids reaching out to kids and parents to create awareness about the dangers of addiction and accidental overdose.
Our hope is to get kids involved and educated before they are confronted with difficult choices. We are not advocating abstinence, and instead are hoping to create awareness and offer knowledge and tools for teenagers to safely navigate their very complicated social worlds of today.
We meet approximately once a month and the meetings last 1 hour. Our meetings provide a safe place for kids (sober kids, non-sober kids, kids with addiction in their families and ordinary teenagers just beginning their journeys into the world of drugs and alcohol) to gather and talk about what is going on in their social lives around drugs and alcohol. Many families think of it like a Parents in Action Meeting for teenagers. We try to bring in a young speaker at each meeting to share their personal experiences confronting the dangers of addiction and accidental overdose. The speakers are generally great role models for our kids – students from similar backgrounds who have gone down the wrong path and have worked extremely hard to get their lives back on track.
We also plan Awareness Raising/Fundraising Events. Our goal is always to have the kids be an integral part of the planning and promoting of the event and hopefully, attract their friends to also participate in the event.
Please note that some parents also attend our meetings. Parents are more than welcome to attend if their teenager is comfortable with them joining. Whether parents attend the meeting or not, we always have roles for parents to participate in behind the scenes – especially in the planning and outreach stages of our events.
We look forward to engaging a teenager you might know in our Young Leadership Program, and hope that parents might also engage in any way that feels comfortable for their family. If you would like to learn more about the program please contact us using the form below.
“ Young Leadership has demonstrated to me, through real-life stories told by young people like myself, that this disease does not discriminate whatsoever.
Below are the events we have had (or are planning to have) to date:
Summer 2015 – Awareness raising event, launching the Young Leadership Program. Over 200 kids and parents gathered to hear Alex Newell (co-star of Glee) talk about the tragedy that occurred with Glee co-star Cory Monteith who died of a heroin overdose. The Young Leadership kids spoke to the kids and parents about the deadly risks of addiction and accidental overdose.
Summer 2016 – A Tribute to Lost Laughs, starring SNL’s Darrell Hammond. An evening of Awareness and Entertainment. The Young Leadership kids marketed, promoted and sold over 300 tickets to the event. They sold sponsorships and developed PR strategies and were interviewed for an article published in an online publication Our kids spoke on stage about the deadly risks of mixing prescription pills and other substances.
Summer 2017 – Shoot for Recovery – An evening shooting basketball with Knicks superstars Allan Houston and Kyle O’Quinn while also being engaged in a powerful discussion of addiction awareness. The event included keynote remarks by Young Leadership Advocate Gaby Rosen and Suffolk County Police Commissioner Timothy Sini.
June 9th, 2018 – June 9th, 2018 – SMASH the Stigma – An evening of Ping Pong competition while also engaging in addiction awareness. Young speakers shared their experience around addiction and the event concluded with a powerful discussion on drugs and alcohol lead by these Young Leadership advocates.
August 2019 – Shoot for Recovery – An evening shooting basketball with Knicks superstars while also being engaged in a powerful discussion of addiction awareness. The event will include a free-throw competition as well as keynote remarks by Young Leadership Advocates.