Former NBA professional basketball player Chris Herren visited Manhasset High School on Jan. 11 to share his remarkable journey from success to addiction to recovery with students in grades nine through 12. Herren’s raw and inspiring presentation is part of the district’s collaborative efforts with the Manhasset Community Coalition Against Substance Abuse (CASA) to offer ongoing prevention and education programs on substance abuse.
“The kids are still talking about it,” said Jennifer DeSena, executive director of Manhasset CASA, at a recent sector meeting. “I visit his Facebook page on a daily basis.”
Prior to the assembly, Herren met with members of the Student Athlete Leadership Team (SALT), commending them for pledging to abstain from drugs and alcohol and for educating sixth-graders of Munsey Park and Shelter Rock elementary schools about the dangers of substance abuse. SALT consists of 10th- through 12th-grade students.
Herren, who has been alcohol- and drug-free since August of 2008, shared his own life experiences to enlighten students about the detrimental impact that drugs and alcohol had on his career, family and health. He encouraged students struggling with substance abuse to seek help in friends, teachers and family members and stressed the importance of never letting friends stray off course. Following his presentation, the captivated audience had an opportunity to ask Herren questions about his journey to sobriety.
Concluding the assembly, members of Manhasset’s Key Club presented Herren with a check for $2,000 to support his foundation, the Herren Project. In December, the Key Club held a “Pinned for Purpose” fundraiser in which they sold pins of the district’s “M” logo to students, staff and faculty.
According to its website, the Herren Project is a nonprofit foundation established to assist individuals and families struggling with addiction. The THP Project Purple initiative was launched in 2011 to break the stigma of addiction, bring awareness to the dangers of substance abuse and encourage positive decision making to navigate life’s challenges.
In conjunction with Manhasset CASA and the Manhasset School District, Herren also delivered a second, free presentation that evening to a sold-out crowd of parents, faculty and community members in the high school auditorium.
Some Content and Photo Courtesy of Manhasset Public Schools