Returning Speaker Chris Herren Hits Responsive Note at Ridge High School

8dafeb70a8c52e036fc4_ChrisHerrenETC.CIC.jpg
Chris Herren, fourth from left, with organizers of his presentation before all grades at Ridge High School, held on Friday. Credits: Courtesy of Community in Crisis
5496418024c4a9274614_CHRISHerrenFromYMCA.jpg
Chris Herren, former NBA star and substance abuser, now a motivational speaker, spoke before in 2015 in Basking Ridge. Credits: Courtesy of YMCA
8dafeb70a8c52e036fc4_ChrisHerrenETC.CIC.jpg

BERNARDS TWP., NJ - Last Friday, April 7, all students in every grade at Ridge High School attended a  daytime assembly to hear former NBA star Chris Herren recount his journey of drug addiction that ruined his basketball career and nearly lost him his life. He also spoke about his recovery.

In a community and high school where both recent Ridge graduates or current students have lost their lives to drug overdoses or other tragic deaths, the students listened intently, some of them overcome with emotion, as Herren talked of issues surrounding self-confidence, self-esteem, mental health and peer pressure.

Herren, who returned to Basking Ridge after another packed presentation arranged by Community in Crisis in 2015, spoke this time specifically to students in the Performing Arts Center at Ridge High School.  Mike Robertson, Somerset County Prosecutor and Basking Ridge resident, was also in attendance. 

Sign Up for E-News

Herren told the students that it was the stress and pressure that he felt during his high school years that led him to drink and smoke pot as a coping mechanism.

Herren went on to praise kids who feel they can socialize and cope without getting high. 

Community in Crisis, a local 501(c)3 a Somerset Hills grassroots movement of volunteers dedicated to providing education and raising awareness of substance use disorder and preventing overdose deaths, sponsored the event.

Students and organizers and supporters of the event gathered with Herren before his presentation. They included (pictured above, from left) Jay Bober of Ridge Youth Sports, Inc.;  Lucas Miller, Ridge High School president; Jean O’Connell, Treasurer of Community in Crisis (CIC); Chris Herren; Sam Lettie, Ridge Wellness Club founder; Anastasia Mahdavian, student representative for CIC; Hersh Gupta, student representative, CIC, and Clodette Sabatelle, volunteer for CIC. All except Herren are residents of Basking Ridge.

A significant part of the funding for this event came from a fundraising event held in March for young adults in NYC, organized by Ridge graduates, Amanda Sabatelle and Rob Monastero, out of concern about the local impact of the substance abuse epidemic, according to CIC. Ridge Youth Sports, Inc. (RYSI), was also a supporting partner.

Steve Mueller, Chairman of RYSI, said of the event, “Supporting this initiative to educate high school students about the dangers of prescription pills and heroin falls right in our wheelhouse. We here at RYSI promote a lifestyle of healthy choices and peer support, and Chris Herren’s message of addiction and recovery is powerful and memorable."

Mueller added, "We applaud the multi-faceted work of Community in Crisis to heighten awareness of this epidemic and are honored to be supporters of this event.”

Students at Ridge have also attempted to provide an alternative to drug and alcohol use and abuse through such organizations as Ridge Against Alcohol and Drugs.

Herren’s latest appearance marked the second time that Community in Crisis had supported his visit to Bernards Township. During an evening in December 2015, Herren spoke to a close to capacity audience of parents and children. Its impact left residents and parents hopeful that students at the high school could hear his message during the school day thereby reaching a larger key audience.

Jean O’Connell, Treasurer of Community in Crisis added, “We are grateful to the school district for supporting our goal of bringing Mr. Herren in front of the children. They have become valuable partners in our mission to help this community navigate the opiate epidemic that is gripping the country. Without their help and the dedicated support of so many volunteers in this community, our work would be much more daunting. We urge everyone to join us and be a part of positive change.”

Community in Crisis is a coalition of community agencies, organizations, schools, churches and concerned citizens that is made up of several working groups. For more information or to get involved, please contact Community in Crisis at info@communityincrisis.org or go to www.communityincrisis.org.

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News

Basking Ridge

Piscataway Man Identified in Pedestrian Fatality on I-287 in Bridgewater Wednesday

June 7, 2018

BRIDGEWATER, NJ - A Piscataway man was identified as the tow truck operator killed when he was struck by another vehicle on I-287 in Bridgewater Wednesday afternoon, according to NJ State Police Sgt. Lawrence Peele.

Nicholas Coble, 24, was pronounced dead at the scene after he was struck by a vehicle while clearing another car from the roadway at 1:44 p.m.

According to Peele, Coble was in ...

Sleep out at Covenant House

June 18, 2018

I can enjoy the same movies over and over like it were the first time to see them.  My kids roll their eyes at this.  Well, many unimaginable things happen as you become a certain age, and you tend to learn to accept those things graciously as gift.   But I remember the movie “The Blind Side.”  Until I saw that movie, I didn’t know homeless children ...

Upcoming Events

Wed, June 20, 9:00 AM

The Wayrick Gallery, Scherman Hoffman Wildlife Sanctuary, Bernardsville

NJ Audubon: NJ Audubon Photography Instructors’ ...

Arts & Entertainment Green

Wed, June 20, 7:30 PM

Chatham United Methodist Church, Chatham

The Masterwork Chorus Launches 19th Summer Sing ...

Arts & Entertainment

Thu, June 21, 9:00 AM

The Wayrick Gallery, Scherman Hoffman Wildlife Sanctuary, Bernardsville

NJ Audubon: NJ Audubon Photography Instructors’ ...

Arts & Entertainment Green

Horse Care Workshops at Lord Stirling Stable Start June 23

June 17, 2018

BASKING RIDGE, N.J. — Somerset County Park Commission Lord Stirling Stable is offering Horse Care Workshop 101 for adults and youth seeking to gain experience and confidence around horses through a combination of non-riding activities and hands-on practice.

Horse Care Workshop 101 will be held at Lord Stirling Stable, 256 South Maple Avenue in Basking Ridge, NJ beginning Saturday June ...