The Impact: At a recent student assembly, Chris spoke to a high school of 486 students. What happened after the presentation demonstrates the need to bring impactful presentations on the topics of substance use and wellness into schools and communities to start a conversation and provide a safe place to express their emotions.
- 12 students left the assembly to get help from counselors.
- 5 students e-mailed Chris Herren and the student outreach team for assistance; 2 high risk.
- 387 students wrote reflections.
- 50 students shared that a family member or friend has a significant substance use problem.
- 10 students shared that a family member or friend had died due to overdose/complications from substance use disorder.
Since the presentation, the school has adopted a campaign around Chris’s message of being a “Pro At You” and will share student reflections through the year in the hope of keeping the conversation going.
The Student Perspective: Read excerpts from a Letter to the Editor that a high school senior wrote sharing her thoughts on the impact of the Chris Herren Presentation.
“I have been in education for fourteen years now. Subsequently, I have witnessed approximately 60 assemblies and guest speakers’ presentations. Chris’ story and presence is by far the most moving and genuine.” – High School Principal
“While I had some preconceived expectations of the impact Chris’s presentation would have on myself and my high school students, I was not at all prepared for the depth of this impact. Chris’s testimony is very powerful, very real and very life-changing. I watched the pain of struggle melt away on my students’ faces as they connected with Chris’s story on a level only they could understand. Today the radiant smiles on their faces is proof enough that something incredible changed inside their young lives. They will be forever blessed and I will be forever grateful. Thank you, Chris! YOU are the difference!” – Teacher of the Deaf
“Having Chris Herren talk to our student-athletes was both truly inspiring and eye opening. His fall to the depths and rise back to prominence are impactful lessons for student-athletes,” said James Paquette, Loyola assistant vice president and director of athletics. “If he reached one person in the audience to help them make the right choice, the night was a success.” – College AD
” I told you I was gonna email you when I was 100 days clean of self harm. I never did though. not because I didn’t make it but because it didn’t satisfy me enough. however I’m now 184 days clean. when you talked at our school months ago you definitely left an impact on me.” – High School Student
“Just wanted to say WOW!! That was a powerful message!! He certainly had those kids attention – you could hear a pin drop! As a parent you pray that you never have to face that situation!Thanks for working to get him to the school. I’m sure that all the board members who attended today will agree that it was money well spent !!!” – High School Parent, PTO Member
“I was in the audience as a baseball player, and though I have spent my entire life sober never having drank or used once, I consider your speech the best I’ve ever heard. What you do is incredible and after hearing you speak it is impossible for one not to reevaluate himself through a new lens.” – Division 1 College Athlete
“My silent son came home and said he was the best speaker he ever heard because he actually “put himself into our shoes” and told the story. He never says anything about anything and this is a direct reflection on the capability of the speaker to reach his audience. Kudos to Chris Herren and the administration for making the decision to put him in front of the students.” – High School Parent
“I know from 46 years on the job, Chris has impacted our kids like no other program I have ever witnessed.” – Teacher
“I would like to just say thank you for having such a great motivational speaker come to the school. My child came home and has been talking about it non stop. I think our kids go through such trials and tribulations with subjects as drugs and alcohol. I know as far as he is concerned it really was great for him and hit home for him. This is such a tough time in our kids lives and every bit counts. I cannot express how grateful i am to you and your team for arranging this motivational speaker. I hope he touched other kids as he did my my child!” – High School Parent
“Be a hero was the advice former NBA player and Fall River native Chris Herren gave to more than 300 eighth-grade students. The heroes are the kids at parties that have water or soda, he told the group. When you are confronted with drugs or alcohol, be a hero. Hopefully, students will learn a life lesson from his experience and that choices made at this age can have a lifelong affect.” – Jr. High School Administrator
“I have taught in the Catholic system part and full time for 38 years. I was at your morning presentation with the students. Your talk was riveting and you touched the hearts and minds of many in such a positive way. For that, I want to thank you so much! Every day I am in “the trenches” with the kids and your message was one of affirmation, courage and hope. In a no nonsense way, it mirrors the Christian teaching that I try to impart to my students.” – High School Teacher
“I am the father of a sophomore who attended your presentation. She is a very good kid who tries hard to do the right thing, and usually does. I just wanted you to know that your words were inspirational to her, and made her think. I could never ask for more. You are reaching the right people, and making a difference. Thank you.” – High School Parent