The Starfish Story
Once upon a time, there was a wise man who used to go to the ocean to do his writing. He had a habit of walking on the beach before he began his work. One day, as he was walking along the shore, he looked down the beach and saw a human figure moving like a dancer. He smiled to himself at the thought of someone who would simply dance to the day and so he walked faster to catch up. As he got closer, he noticed that the figure he'd seen was that of a young boy and that what he was doing was not dancing at all. The young boy was reaching down to the shore, picking up small objects and throwing them into the ocean. The wise man came closer and called out, "Good morning! May I ask what it is that you're doing?" The young boy paused, looked up and replied, "I'm throwing starfish into the ocean." "I must ask then, why are you throwing starfish into the ocean?" asked the somewhat surprised wise man. To this, the young boy replied, "The sun is up and the tide is out. If I don't throw them in, they'll die. Upon hearing this, the wise man commented, "But, boy, do you not realize that there are miles and miles of beach and there are starfish along every single mile? You can't possibly make a difference!"
At this, the young boy bent down, picked up yet another starfish and threw it into the ocean. As it met the water, he said, "It made a difference for that one."
The Starfish Project is committed to educating children and adults about the lasting consequences that are a result of making bad decisions when using drugs and alcohol. Experience tells us that we cannot save them all, but we can raise awareness and perhaps save just one.
We bear witness to the deaths or life-changing injuries of kids in our community and neighboring communities each year. As parents, educators, first responders, friends and family, we absorb the pain and we experience the loss profoundly. We attempt to teach and empower our children, at home, how to make good choices and in our schools, we promote a culture that speaks to the dangers of alcohol and drug use. And still, it's not enough. The Starfish Project is designed to enrich measures already in place and to offer additional support with a five-armed approach that incorporates:
- Parent and Community Outreach
- Age- appropriate K-12 curriculum
- Real life presentations that show the absolute and lasting consequences of drugs, alcohol and bad decisions
- Collaboration with like-minded organizations
- Providing kids with the experience of driving while impaired by using the nationally recognized Simulated Impaired Driving Experience (SIDNE)
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We started this Project last year (2012) with a very simple idea born out of grief after losing another precious, recently graduated child to a fatal car accident. Our hope was to raise enough money to purchase the SIDNE to give our kids an experiential taste of how their minds can trick them into thinking they really are OK to drive when, in fact, they are not. They are not OK, and when they die... or when they are profoundly injured, we are not OK either. The original idea grew like a tree and is still growing as we continue to share our message and listen to the stories of others. As awareness grew and the the community became involved, the original idea began to change and we recognized a deeper need to talk to each other and share stories. We began hosting discussion groups. We began to communicate and work with local schools, administrators, teachers and School Resource Officers. We know we can't save every child, but just like the young boy in "The Starfish Story", as we look down the miles and miles of shore, we believe that saving even one will make all the difference. If YOU have a story to share - please visit us on facebook and join the conversation and maybe help someone along the way.
If you are interested in speaking about a personal experience as a way to help raise awareness, no matter how painful, of if you'd like to participate in any other way, please write to: firstname.lastname@example.org