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A Message from Susan Esty, Director of Advising & Counseling
Drug and alcohol education is tricky business. Bring in an ineffective speaker and students are soon rolling their eyes and watching the clock. Host a speaker with a winning personality, and the kids are all ears. This year, we are confident that we have two presenters of the second variety!
The request came from students to invite Chris Herren, former Boston Celtics player and motivational speaker, to Pingree. Some of them had seen ESPN’s documentary “Unguarded” about his basketball career and his battle with addiction. Herren is a larger-than-life figure, and his story is a compelling cautionary tale. It was with great enthusiasm and good fortune that we were able to schedule Herren’s visit. (Huge thanks to Jock Burns for his role in accomplishing this feat.) You are welcome to join us for this exciting event, which will take place Thursday, February 23 from 8:30-10:30 a.m. with breakfast for students at 8:00 a.m. If you plan to come, please let Judy Klein know. If you’re interested but can’t make it, you can watch “Unguarded” on espn.com.
Our other speaker, Jeff Wolfsberg, will come to campus Thursday, March 8. Wolfsberg is an internationally recognized expert in drug education for teenagers. His articles have appeared in many publications, including Time Magazine, The New York Times, and The Boston Globe, and he has been a guest on NBC’s The Today Show, ABC’s The View, and Fox News in Boston.
Wolfsberg offers wise advice to parents of teenagers and suggests that parental mindset can determine the process and outcome once parents discover that their teenager has used alcohol or drugs. The discovery offers an opportunity for education along with open communication about values and expectations. More importantly, the difficult conversations that ensue can strengthen bonds between parents and teens as they come to understand they are part of a loving and communicative family that can manage conflict.
Wolfsberg offers the following advice on his website, jeffwolfsberg.com. He says:
In the case of parents discovering their teen is drinking, I use the devastation of Hurricane Katrina and the lessons learned in the aftermath about responding to a crisis:
• Don’t respond slowly and minimize the problem.
• Don’t finger point and start assigning blame.
• Don’t try to manage the problem from a distance.
• Do get in there with your teen and do your own work if needed.
• Do send adequate resources and get the right people involved.
• Do listen to others who have insights about your teen
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