MINNEAPOLIS — If seeing is believing, then students across Minnesota are getting a big reality check about the dangers of drugs, drinking and vaping.
The nonprofit, "Know the Truth" sends people in recovery into middle schools and high schools for a candid conversation about how addiction changed their lives.
Our cameras captured one of the presentations at Cretin-Derham Hall High School. The presenter, Micah Meline shared some powerful imagery. "Do you guys think through music, they're talking about the realities of addiction? Do you guys think they're talking about the parents who may be going to prison or the children who may be overdosing accidentally dying from those? Probably not," said the presenter.
Meline also went into vaping and how easily he became addicted saying, "for me, I was risking my job to go sneak off and vape in the bathroom. I mean, it was a huge problem."
Sadie Holland is a prevention education manager with Know the Truth. She says the nonprofit doesn't do "don't do drugs messages." Holland said instead, "It's a we've been there and we know what you're going through, but here's what's happened to me when I said yes to using alcohol."
Holland explained the presentations can be difficult and not just for the students.
"That's emotionally taxing and can be hard to share kind of 'the worst of the worst' every single day. But you see that impact made with students and you see those connections made," Holland said.
The students come away with valuable resources: prevention curriculum, healthy coping skills, and a bridge connecting them to people who've survived addiction.
Seamus Dougherty is a sophomore who attended the presentation. He said, "They offer this kind of emotional connection. And I think it's really important for students to see where that comes from."
Holland told us that is an important aspect to the nonprofit's mission. "We just hope that by sharing our personal stories and being vulnerable with the students, they'll feel like they can in turn be vulnerable and kind of muster up that courage to ask for help if they need it."
After each presentation, the students take an anonymous survey which gives "Know the Truth" information to help educate parents and the community.
Plus, the students get access to a 24 hour text-hotline (612-440-3967) that provides immediate help.
The program operates solely on sponsors, grants and donations in order to offer services to schools for free.
For more information on Know the Truth and how to bring the program to your school, visit the nonprofits website.
Communities that KARE is sponsored by Affinity Plus Federal Credit Union.
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