HOPEWINS is an organization that is teaching middle and high school students the truth about heroin. The best part is that this idea came from a high school student – athlete, Charlie McDonough. Charlie was a member of the tennis team at WWSouth that I, Patti Clousing, coach. During Charlie’s high school tennis career is when our son Keenan lost his battle with heroin. Observing all that he saw our family go through, Charlie approached me and asked, “Is there something our tennis team could do to help the police in our community with their war on heroin?” Charlie’s idea evolved into a school assembly with a message.
This assembly has two parts. It begins with a local police officer and firefighter explaining what they have seen first hand in their community, and also a personal story about everything Keenan learned, and our family, through his struggle with drugs – especially heroin. The second part the assembly takes a 180 degree turn around. We have a dozen enthusiastic high school kids come on stage for the 8th grade assemblies, and they talk about the best ways to navigate high school. They talk about everything from the importance of getting involved, how to get out of a bad situation, what a GPA is, being confident in what you enjoy doing, what to avoid, etc… It has a great impact as the 8th graders truly enjoy hearing from the high school students themselves.
Each student leaves the assembly with a t-shirt to remind them of the message. It reads on the front: ONEGOALONEHOPE, and on the back: NEVER above you, NEVER below you, ALWAYS right beside you.