Home » Breaking News » San Diego Celebrates National Above the Influence Day
Local organizations come together to support children affected by addiction in their families, welcome Moyer Foundation's Camp Mariposa to San Diego
San Diego, CA - The Moyer Foundation and San Diego Youth Services (SDYS) will celebrate National Above the Influence Day on October 17, 2013, by bringing together community leaders and national experts to discuss the impact of addiction in families. The focus will be on prevention and how initiatives such as The Moyer Foundation's Camp Mariposa can help at-risk children avoid alcohol and drug dependency. Both media and the public are welcome to attend the event free of charge; full details can be found below.
Above the Influence Day is part of October's National Substance Abuse Prevention Month, which was proclaimed by President Obama in 2011 to encourage parents, youth, schools, businesses and community leaders across the country to recognize the role that substance abuse prevention plays in promoting safe and healthy communities.
"Statistics show that addiction impacts most of us somewhere in our families, yet it is a topic that few people want to talk about because of the stigma," said Claudia Black, an internationally recognized expert and author on addiction and its impact on family systems. "It's rare and very inspiring to see such a diverse group of community leaders come together to meet this challenge publicly and support innovative programs like Camp Mariposa," said Black, who will speak at the event.
Joining Black will be Karen Moyer, co-founder and vice president of The Moyer Foundation; Stephen Jellá, associate executive director of San Diego youth services; 19 year-old Indie Landrum, a community organizer with a LGBT youth coalition that focuses on alcohol and drug prevention; and moderator Caroline Stewart, board president of A New PATH (Parents for Addiction Treatment & Healing) and Clinical Supervisor of the Department of Psychiatry at UC-San Diego. Patricia Duke, assistant San Diego sheriff for law enforcement and a representative from the office of Congressman Scott Peters of California's 52nd District will also deliver remarks.
While the panel discussion is taking place indoors, a group of young adults from SDYS' Transitional Age Youth (TAY) Academy will be outside painting a graffiti-style mural that will be unveiled at the event's conclusion as a sign of San Diego's welcome to The Moyer Foundation and its Camp Mariposa initiative, which established its first San Diego location earlier this year. The finished work will then be on display at future Camp Mariposa sessions to welcome the young campers as they arrive.
"Jamie and I are very excited that Camp Mariposa has been established in San Diego where we live and call home," said Karen Moyer. "Without help, children living with an addicted family member are all too likely to follow suit, but when a community makes a strong commitment to breaking the cycle of addiction, we can make a real difference."
According to the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University, 90 percent of adult addicts begin using drugs or alcohol before their 18th birthdays. Children are especially at risk when a member of their family is an addict. Approximately 8.3 million children in the United States live in a home with at least one parent in need of treatment for alcohol and/or drug dependency, and these kids are four times more likely to develop substance abuse issues of their own.
"The San Diego County Sheriff's Department has been a long and avid supporter of youth services that prevent future public safety concerns such as delinquency and substance use and abuse," said San Diego Sheriff William Gore. "We're pleased to be partnering with San Diego Youth Services to implement Camp Mariposa."
Created by The Moyer Foundation in 2007, Camp Mariposa is a free, first-of-its kind program for children between the ages of 9-12 who are affected by a family member's addiction. By coming together in a comfortable, familiar and fun camp environment, children learn that they are not alone. Nurtured by professionals and trained volunteers, campers explore their feelings, learn coping strategies and make new friends who understand what they are going through at home. Camp is held six times a year and children are encouraged to attend multiple sessions.
"Karen and I continue to be amazed by the healing and transformation that happens at Camp Mariposa," said Jamie Moyer, former World Series Champion pitcher and co-founder of The Moyer Foundation. "Over the years, we have been profoundly moved to see hope returned to so many young lives."
Camp Mariposa San Diego is run by San Diego Youth Services (SDYS), an organization that has helped more than 500,000 at-risk youth and their families during 43 years of work. Multiple companies in San Diego are supporting Camp Mariposa San Diego, including financial commitments of $10,000 each from Sempra Energy and Union Bank. And the San Diego Sheriff's Association is joined by six local school districts that are all raising awareness of addiction and the importance of providing support services to children at risk.