GENESEO – In two very different, somber presentations, former NBA player and recovering addict Chris Herren challenges Geneseo Central School students to value themselves and for parents to be the people their kids think they are.
To students during the school day Monday, Herren said that every person in the room is loved and worth speaking up for.
“At the end of Chris’ presentation during the school day, we wanted to get him out of here so he could get some rest,” said Geneseo High School Principal Mike Salatel. “The reason he didn’t leave is we had line ups of students sharing their stories, sharing their hurt. Together we will make a difference.”
To adults in the evening, Herren shared his story of drug experimentation, athletic success, the destruction of his core family and his daily work to be better and instill wellness in others.
“The one question you should ask yourself as a parent is, if you were a kid, would you look up to you?” said Herren to parents. “Am I the parent that my kid thinks I am?”
These talks represent the launch of Project Purple, a long-term initiative by Geneseo Central School and several community organizations to combat and prevent addiction. Salatel said that the community will be seeing Project Purple for many years as part of the school’s long-term sponsorship of the program.
Anyone can contact the Middle School/High School main office at 243-3450, extension 1007, to get involved or ask any questions. As a start, Herren insists that personal wellness needs to be a core class nationwide to push down rates of youth addiction and suicide.
“The problem with this illness is that we don’t give it enough credit,” said Harren. “Wellness needs to be a core class. We are cavemen when it comes to wellness.”