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Our Mission: "Saving Lives By Empowering Youth To Be Drug Free And Encouraging Parents

To Communicate Effectively With Their Children About The Dangers Of Drugs"

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the presentation

In this dynamic, riveting and thought-provoking presentation, nationally renowned prevention speaker, Ginger Katz, Founder and CEO of The Courage To Speak® Foundation and author of Sunny’s Story, shares the story of her son Ian’s losing battle with drugs. Ginger Katz has made over 1000 drug prevention education presentations throughout the country that have touched the hearts and minds of hundreds of thousands of students, parents, law enforcement professionals, educators, prevention specialists, religious groups and has spoken at state and national agencies and conferences.

Drug Prevention Education Speaker Connecting to Teens:

Ginger reaches young people like few others can. Through her presentations, she implores listeners to follow the positive passions in their lives. A central theme of Ginger's work is that young people should cultivate relationships with three to five trusted adults with whom they are able to share their problems and innermost thoughts. Her presentations frequently elicit responses-in person or via email and letters-from parents who are seeking help for a family member, or from young people wanting to share their problems as a result of hearing the Courage to Speak presentation. Some youngsters are in a serious crisis. The Courage to Speak is committed to responding immediately and provides referrals where needed.

Drug Prevention Education Speaker Connecting to Parents:

Speaking as a parent who has experienced the ultimate loss, Ginger inspires people to step forward, assess their situation, and address their problems. But her riveting presentation isn't filled with sadness. Ginger's words overflow with hope and promise that the courage to speak - about fears, drug dependence, or any troubling issue - presents an ideal opportunity for healing.

Through Ginger's story, and the life-saving prevention information it contains, students and parents begin to recognize the telltale signs of alcohol and other drug use. She also describes the veils behind which those signs hide: anger, denial, fear, pain and deception.


Ian’s Story – The Heart of the Courage to Speak® Foundation:

My son Ian died on September 10, 1996 in his sleep of an overdose. He was only twenty years old. After he died, one by one, his friends began to come to me. We were all in such pain. I sat and listened, torn between anger and agony, as slowly they began to talk about what had really been going on.

Anger doesn't help. Ian's friends and his family have to heal. We have to find the courage to speak before it is too late for so many other young people like my son who are in danger of becoming addicted to drugs. Ian was bright, handsome, athletic and popular. If this could happen to him, it could happen to anyone.

Drug Prevention Education Presentation Audiences:

A typical presentation consists of five age-appropriate programs designed for different aspects of the community:

  1. Middle School Students
  2. High School Students
  3. Colleges
  4. Elementary School Students after reading Sunny's Story written by Ginger Katz
  5. Parents
  6. Teachers, Counselors, Health Class Teachers, Athletic Directors
  7. Local, State and National Conferences

Examples of several National Conference and Platforms:

  1. Connecticut Education Association Summer Leadership Conference
  2. Massachusetts Teachers Association Summer Conference
  3. Connecticut School Counselors Conference
  4. CADCA National Youth Conference (Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America)
  5. DEA
  6. National Association of Drug Court Professionals
  7. National Association of Secondary School Principals
  8. National Association of Independent Schools
  9. CT Association of Schools Winter Conference
  10. PTA of CT and beyond
  11. US Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration

Comments from Students After Hearing the Drug Prevention Education Presentation from Speaker, Ginger Katz:
  1. “After hearing Ian’s story, I shall never do drugs.”
  2. “I will always remember this story. When somebody asks me to do drugs my auto response will be your story in my mind and my answer will definitely be no”
  3. "There are a lot of kids in high school who do drugs. They think it's a joke. I wish everyone could hear you speak."
  4. "I see now that drugs can affect all kinds of kids, not just 'drop-outs.' I can understand that if you stay silent to protect a friendship, you could end up losing the friend, like you lost Ian."
  5. "After hearing you speak and looking at all the pictures of Ian, I actually had the feeling that I knew him and I was very upset. I came out of class with a new attitude towards drugs and alcohol."
  6. "When she read from her journal, I had tears in my eyes. It was different to hear about a drug addiction from a parent's viewpoint. It was overwhelming. I don't think I will ever forget it."
  7. "The three things I've learned are to never do drugs, choose my friends wisely and have at least one person I can tell anything to."
  8. "My sister got into trouble again and my parents always make excuses for her. You made me see the 'wall of silence.' "
  9. "I just heard ur speech and i wanted to say u really touched me. i mean for the past couple weeks, i have been smoking cigeretts with my friends and, at parties, drinking a little and i didn't realize it could lead to so much stronger drugs, so i just wanted to say thank u."
  10. "The only thing I thought was bad about the presentation is that everybody said that my life seems like Ian's, but I don't think my life is. I do drugs, but I don't feel I have a problem. But besides that, it was a good program. A sign of denial?"
  11. "Once you start, you can't stop and the drug can make you do things you normally wouldn't. Drugs can have a major impact on your brain and make you think about crazy things or not think at all."
  12. "It made me realize how other people are affected by drugs, not just the drug user. I don't want to use drugs because I wouldn't want to hurt my mother."
  13. "I cried during and after her talk. I hadn't fully grasped the enormity of what drugs could do. I had thought about doing drugs, but now I never will. I don't want to hurt myself or the ones I love."
  14. "Ian looks like a normal person, not a drug addict. The saddest thing was that he died right when he had decided to get help."

Comments from Parents After Hearing the Drug Prevention Education Presentation from Speaker, Ginger Katz:

  1. "You gave me insight to start my own gathering of information and outreach in my neighborhood. We need to help each other help our kids."
  2. "On our way home from your presentation, my son told me he knew of kids in his eighth grade class who were taking drugs. On the way to your talk, he had emphatically said just the opposite. Thank-you for enabling him to confide in us."
  3. "Listening to Ginger gave me the courage to make the hard decisions needed to help our son who is an alcohol and heroin addict receive the treatment he needed. Parents who love their children can ill afford not to invest their time to attend, learn and understand how they can help their most precious possession, their children."
  4. "As a mother, I could not help but feel both your love for Ian and your pain. Thank-you for speaking the truth."

Comments from Professionals After Hearing the Drug Prevention Education Presentation from Speaker, Ginger Katz:

"The Courage To Speak presentation is unique because of the degree of emotion Ginger Katz brings to it. I have a strong sense of people walking out of there alerted. The program cuts through denial and can be a really important catalyst to help others take action."
Dr. Thomas Kirk

Former CT State Commissioner of Mental Health and Addiction Services

"What a wonderful contribution to our efforts to encourage youth to talk openly with their parents and mentors. You are to be commended for your courage and wisdom. The Courage To Speak program you have created is one step in the right direction."
Barry R. McCaffrey, Director

Executive Office Of The President

Office of National Drug Control Policy

With your partnership in CASA's missions, we can make a major difference in our private schools and set a standard for the country. I hope you will join forces with us to help protect our teens from the scourge of addiction and substance abuse."
Joseph A. Califano

Jr. President

The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University

"Ginger Katz is currently working with us to develop a Public Service Announcement that will be included in a national anti-drug campaign. Personal stories are always the most connecting and persuasive. Parents are key to prevention. If only more people whose own lives or families have been torn apart by the tragedy of drug use and addiction would speak out instead of turning away.
Thomas A. Hedrick, Jr., Vice Chairman

Partnership For A Drug-Free America

"I wish to extend our thanks to Ginger Katz who gave a powerful testimony relating to her personal experience with the effects of narcotics engulfing one's own family. She has demonstrated the importance of sending the message to our community to get involved in reaching our youth."
Harry W. Rilling, Chief of Police

Norwalk, CT

"I was Ian's Housemaster at Norwalk High School. We knew he had a problem, but didn't realize how severe it was. I watched the expressions on the faces of the young people as Ginger Katz spoke. Her impact on the students is extraordinary. She has helped so many realize they need to seek help.
Dewey Amos, Housemaster

Norwalk High School

Comments from Students about the Presentation:

"There are a lot of kids in high school who do drugs. They think it's a joke. I wish everyone could hear you speak."

"I see now that drugs can affect all kinds of kids, not just 'drop-outs.' I can under stand that if you stay silent to protect a friendship, you could end up losing the friend, like you lost Ian."

"After hearing you speak and looking at all the pictures of Ian, I actually had the feeling that I knew him and I was very upset. I came out of class with a new attitude towards drugs and alcohol."

"When she read from her journal, I had tears in my eyes. It was different to hear about a drug addiction from a parent's viewpoint. It was overwhelming. I don't think I will ever forget it."

"The three things I've learned are to never do drugs, choose my friends wisely and have at least one person I can tell anything to."

"My sister got into trouble again and my parents always make excuses for her. You made me see the 'wall of silence.' "

"I just heard ur speech and i wanted to say u really touched me. i mean for the past couple weeks, i have been smoking cigeretts with my friends and, at parties, drinking a little and i didn't realize it could lead to so much stronger drugs, so i just wanted to say thank u."

"The only thing I thought was bad about the presentation is that everybody said that my life seems like Ian's, but I don't think my life is. I do drugs, but I don't feel I have a problem. But besides that, it was a good program. A sign of denial?"

"Once you start, you can't stop and the drug can make you do things you normally wouldn't. Drugs can have a major impact on your brain and make you think about crazy things or not think at all."

"It made me realize how other people are affected by drugs, not just the drug user. I don't want to use drugs because I wouldn't want to hurt my mother."

"I cried during and after her talk. I hadn't fully grasped the enormity of what drugs could do. I had thought about doing drugs, but now I never will. I don't want to hurt myself or the ones I love."

"Ian looks like a normal person, not a drug addict. The saddest thing was that he died right when he had decided to get help."

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