Turning Loss Into Action
More than 400 local supporters turned out for an unforgettable presentation at Drug Free Collier’s 7th Annual Fundraising Luncheon on Thursday, March 5, 2015 at the Ritz Carlton Golf Resort.
Attendees at this year’s luncheon were moved by the stories of each speaker and pledged their support to protect local children from substance abuse.
“Today our young people are making choices that will define their future and the health and safety of the next generation. Too many of us have been touched by a young life cut short or a future destroyed by substance abuse,” said Mimi Scofield, Drug Free Collier Board Member and Event Chair.
“Through prevention and education Drug Free Collier is empowering our kids to make safe and healthy choices in their formative years by teaching them the power of choice,” she added.
This year’s program featured a powerful DUI presentation by The Meagan Napier Foundation. Renee Napier founded the organization after losing her daughter to a drunk driver in 2002. Her story gained national attention after she forgave the convicted drunk driver and even campaigned to have his sentence reduced. Eric Smallridge, no longer in prison, now joins Napier in speaking to audiences everywhere about the real impact of his decision to drink and drive. By teaming up, they are working to save lives.
“I had some of my son’s friends at the table and they were significantly impacted by the message and the meaningful presentation of a community coming together for such a worthy cause,” said Amy Turner, Co-Owner of Ooh La La! Jewels Du Jour.
Attendees also heard from Michelle Borders, a local businesswoman and member of Drug Free Collier, along with her son, Nick Borders.
They spoke about the tragic loss of a young friend to a drug overdose and how they joined Drug Free Collier to work on local solutions to protect children from substance abuse.
The program also included a special recognition of Veora Little, Volunteer Coordinator of Drug Free Collier’s Operation Medicine Cabinet®. Little and a group of dedicated volunteers have worked tirelessly to raise awareness about the safe use, storage and disposal of household medication. Her involvement began in 2006 after several local elementary students were transported to the hospital after taking Xanax pills given to them by another student. She recognized that something needed to be done to keep this from happening again and volunteered to spearhead Operation Medicine Cabinet. Today, there are now 11 permanent drop boxes in Collier County where residents can safely dispose of unwanted medication.
“All of the stories that were shared at this year’s luncheon, point to the tragic consequences of substance abuse and clearly show us that we each have the power to make a difference through the choices that we make,” said Melanie Black, Executive Director of Drug Free Collier.
The luncheon generated critical funding to support our school based prevention clubs known as the CORE Society. “The generous response from our community provides local teens with the encouragement they need to continue changing teen perceptions about drug and alcohol use,” Black said. “We are grateful for the strong support of our sponsors and especially thank Mayor John Sorey and Patrick Nolan for their roles in making our event a huge success,” she said.
“We’ve made some real progress, but there’s still more work to do,” added Black. To get involved or to learn more about Drug Free Collier, visit www.DrugFreeCollier.org or call 239.377.0535.
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