CROTON-ON-HUDSON, N.Y. — Croton Harmon High School ninth-, 10th- and 11th-graders gathered Friday, April 17 for an assembly on marijuana awareness.
Through a partnership between the Croton Community Coalition and Croton-Harmon Teen Council, a marijuana awareness campaign has been rolling out in grades eight and higher. One of the partners of the campaign, motivational speaker and comedian Matt Bellace, spoke candidly with students about the dangers of substance use and abuse during the assembly, encouraging them to seek natural highs.
“In life, you need to surround yourself with positive support,” Bellace told students. “The number one predictor of your behavior is your friends.”
Bellace said his brother had friends who used substances, which led him to make a series of unhealthy decisions throughout his life. He asked students and Assistant Principal Mark Maxam to discuss their preferred natural highs and said he believes expressing emotions, harnessing the power of love and enjoying laughter are three tools to use instead of substances like marijuana.
Bellace, along with newspaper cartoonist Doug Bratton, designed the campaign “weed ≠ salad” using comic strips that have been distributed to eighth-graders and high school students in Croton-on-Hudson.
“In a fun way, the comic strip generates the buzz, if you will, and gets the conversation started between students, parents and teachers,” Bellace said. “There are many healthier alternatives to using drugs and alcohol.”