"It was like no other presentation. amazing, relatable stories, it was honestly the best presentation I have ever seen." – Junior, Watertown High School
The Your Choice Youth Presentation is all about the power of choices. Topics covered during the presentation include: how futures can be impacted by choices, the importance of choosing the right friends, how choices affect others, the hardships and devastation caused by drugs and alcohol, and how to reach out for help. The youth speakers share their stories, with the hope that each student would relate to at least one speaker. The youth presentation is appropriate for 6th through 12th graders.
Early use of drugs or alcohol increases a person’s chances of developing addiction. Drugs and alcohol change brains—and this can lead to addiction and other serious problems. Preventing early use of drugs or alcohol goes a long way in reducing these risks. If we can prevent young people from experimenting with drugs and alcohol, we can reduce the instances of addiction. Source: National Institute on Drug Abuse
Katie Morrow is a prevention education specialist who has worked in the substance abuse field for 10 years. She has worked in a variety of roles in this field including prevention, direct care, development and community organizing. She has a Master’s in Public Administration from Marquette University. Being in long-term recovery for 12 years gives Katie a passion for recovery and prevention. Katie enjoys sharing her story in hopes that it will help others from going down the path that she did. Katie loves to spend time with her son, dogs, and husband and is an avid runner and hiker.
Ashleigh Nowakowski has been working in the substance abuse prevention field since 2009. Her work includes speaking in middle and high schools, teaching in health classes, and working with high-risk youth in the Detour program. Her story focuses on how the choice to stay away from drugs and alcohol in high school positively impacted her life. She also speaks about what it like to be a sibling of someone who uses drugs. Ashleigh just completed her Master's Degree in Public Administration from Bellevue University. When Ashleigh is not working with youth, she loves spending time with her husband and three children.
Melanie Crandall has been speaking with Your Choice to Live for 3 years as a Stairway to Heroin presenter and youth presenter. Melanie shares her powerful personal story with the hope of saving others from the devastation that she endured. An integral part of the Your Choice team, Melanie is also a certified Narcan trainer and Detour instructor. She conducts opioid overdose education and training on Narcan administration for families and community members. Melanie has a deep passion for carrying out the Your Choice mission of education, prevention, and early intervention.
"I liked that it wasn't "don't do drugs, kids!' but "You could do this, but look what can happen". – 8th grader, Oconomowoc Intermediate School
"Thanks to all of you for the work that you do! I have heard so many positive comments from our students today as I talked with them about the presentation. Your presentation is powerful and impactful. It is truly a 360 degree look at the effects of drug abuse. We look forward to working with you again next year with the other programs." - Steve Dinkel, Principal - Jefferson High School
"Just a quick note to thank you for the impact you had on our students and learning community. We have students and staff discussing the presentations from yesterday yet today. I know it must be hard to share your stories, yet it is so impactful for our students and staff. Thank you for your willingness to help students see the impact that their choices have on them, their families and their friends. Your engagement with our students was excellent all around. Best of luck as you continue to share your stories. Please know that you made a significant impact." Michael Fesenmaier, Principal - New Berlin West Middle/High School
"My daughter is a sophomore at Nazareth Academy and attended your awareness education program on Thursday. I just wanted you to know that it had an extremely powerful impact on her. From after school through dinner, it was our only topic. I truly wish you could have heard her, because it was a testament to how well you deliver this program. My wife and I have loved ones we’ve lost from substance dependence. We had an incredible dinner conversation as our daughter would describe your speaker’s stories. From our own experiences, we were able to affirm everything she heard from you with specific examples. Thank you for doing this incredible work and keep it up!!" - Parent
”I felt that the student presentation was more powerful than anyone anticipated. The Junior/Senior group has NEVER been that attentive at an assembly.” - Teacher, Mount Horeb School District
Thank you to the following schools for allowing us to share our stories with students during the 2019-2020 school year:
Mt. Horeb Middle School
Mt. Horeb High School
Crystal Lake Central High School