Heroin kills. Heroin is not chic. The monster destroys any one in its grip. Those who loved the lost grieve for the rest of their lives.
Think it’s only a big city, dark alley occurrence? Wrong. In 2013, seven people in eight months died of heroin overdoses in the small idyllic town of Hudson, Wis. One of the dead was lovely twenty‐one year old Alysa Ivy, the subject of the article in The New York Times.
Read that article to see what we as business people and the entire community can do to stop this horror.
If you’re still reading, you probably identify with strengthening people especially children through Character Education. You and we believe in the value and power of community, caring, sharing, honesty, perseverance; submerging immediate gratification for the good of the whole.
We are not biochemists or pharmacists who encourage clean needle use and create drugs like naloxone, an overdose reversal medication. We fight evil like heroin with strength of character which allows us to celebrate good times and brave bad ones.
We believe loving and caring for others is our primary mission in life. We shoulder the responsibility of being role models. We look directly into the lonely lives of others and help them to a place where they feel appreciated and respected.
Wisconsin Character Education (http://wicharacter.org/) urges you, a leader in your community, to act. Show the world that no mother or father needs worry about a meeting with the medical examiner. We’re not about clean needles.
All children go to school; we can meet them there. If we get our schools involved in character development by promoting universal virtues and modeling caring, adult behavior, we can defeat the horrors of heroin or any hideous epidemic. Our goal is to prevent them.
- Demand (politely) your local schools engage in character education through the State Schools of Character (SSOC).
- Participate in your school.
- Ask your faculty, staff and administrators to participate in Leadership Advancing Character and Culture in Schools (LACCS) held at Alverno College.
- Grandparents, share your wisdom.
Educators and administrators:
- Take advantage of the LACCS program.
- Learn techniques for implementing ideas. Watch this video about an outstanding SSOC.
- Attend the 10th annual Character Education Conference, June 19‐20 (See website for details).
- Share your experiences.
Community leaders, especially business leaders:
- Don’t criticize your schools, ask how you can help.
- Conduct yourself in a way that makes young people want to grow up to be like you.
- Participate by commenting on the WI‐Character Education website. On the website. read the Eleven Principles that provide guidance.
- Write your local newspapers, explaining your feelings about Character Education.
Alysa’s tragedy is a sober occasion for Character Education to make an impact. We know this space. We believe in it. We know it works when practiced. No more Alysas. No more grieving communities. No more lost children.
Richard Peiper Sr. is the non-executive chairman of PPC Partners Inc. in Milwaukee and a proponent of the concept of servant leadership.