Every now and again you get an email with an invitation to be apart of something big, really big. I remember reading the invitation details about Camden County's event and thinking to myself, "Why aren't more communities in this country engaging with their people like this." At the heart of the "Opiate Summit" were a group of fantastic people who cared about the lives of those who inhabited the Camden County. When you read about the problem with opiates, specifically prescription painkillers and heroin, Camden County is having it immediately causes your heart to ache. An astonishing amount of people are falling victim to opiate addiction in Camden and it was home to the highest overdose rates in the country.
I honestly didn't know what to expect when I got to the event but I was excited to share my story and hopefully inspire, touch and reach a lot of ears during the evening of my keynote. The venue was absolutely gorgeous and their participation level throughout the community was something I've never seen before. Organizations, politicians, concerned citizens, students, people in recovery, law enforcement, medical professionals & people who have lost loved ones to addiction were all present for the evening. Numbers in excess of 1,100 people.
I must say that the Q & A portion of keynotes are generally my favorite time of the speech because I'm able to interact with the audience on a more personal level. With Camden it was a little extra special because I was interacting with so many parents, kids, those currently in recovery etc. It was such a diverse crowd and you could feel how deeply immersed everyone was with bringing about change in their community. I really focused on inspiring the people of Camden to be pro active in their community, not give up on the addict and to the young kids to be mindful of the choices you make. It's an event I will never forget and I'm honored to have built friendships from it.