Since 2010 the only time i've been asked to speak on the west coast has been inside my hometown of Fresno California. Oddly enough I attribute this to a thinking that is trapping west coast schools. This thinking is that there is no problems with their students and or they don't want to face the drug issues they have. I commend the east, south and midwest parts of the United States for being so proactive in fighting substance abuse among students. I also commend Bella Vista High School of Sacramento California. They invited me out to speak this month and wanted me to put a heavier emphasis on choices for my message.
A lot of my story really is about choices but my personal story, as much as it's about the choice, it goes deep into my substance abuse issues and the harsh realities of using drugs. With this speech to Bella Vista High School, I touched on drugs obviously but I focused more on all the little choices that lead up to the life altering choices. I feel like I have a unique way in presenting my speeches because I don't speak downward to students, I prefer to focus on myself and the "choices" and "thinking" I carried. The students will find themselves and where they stand in their own choices/thinking if they are listening to me tell my story. It will then be up to them to determine wether they are in danger, could be better or doing well.
The students were amazing during both of my presentations and super engaging during my questions and answers portion of the talk. It was great to be so close to home as I told the students, I felt like i was in my home town talking to my home town kids. Thanks to the students and staff who played a part in me coming out to share my story! You guys are awesome!
Lastly! I was especially stoked to have Toby Wade in the house to listen to me speak. Toby plays a huge role in my life story. He helped mentor me while I was at Avenal State Prison. He was serving a life sentence and after 21 years of being in prison was finally released on good behavior. I love and owe that many a lot so it was extra special to have him there with me.