For the past 3 months, our teen Life Skills Lessons have focused on the prevention of drug and alcohol abuse. Using an evidence-based curriculum, the teens learned about the effects of heredity and environment on a person’s chances of becoming an addict. They were informed of high- and low-risk choices and created a personal plan for making healthy choices in the future. They had some difficult discussions with their mentors and other youth about their own experiences, the problems they see in their schools and communities, and whether or not any of it can truly be fixed.
This year, we were able to further engage our youth with the power of personal storytelling. Several local community members, like Vincent, spoke to our teens about their personal addiction and recovery journeys. Vincent is one of several volunteers working with Mentoring Plus through a partnership with the Grateful Life Center. Men who reach certain milestones in their recovery at GLC are able to work with the staff at both agencies to find appropriate paths to volunteering at Mentoring Plus – including sharing testimony with groups of youth, pitching in with event set-up and facility renovations, and preparing meals.
The message they bring with all of those efforts is powerful for our teens – addiction is real, and life-altering – but recovery is also real. In people like Vincent, our teens can see that there is hope in recovery; there is even the power to bring change to your own neighborhood. We hope their witness will impact the choices of our teens, and give them hope that the communities they live in can heal.