Party.0 is now exploring a collaboration with Rise Together, a group of speakers who talk about drugs, addiction and the social stigmas that go along with it. This brought me to Ripon High School to speak about partying sober on Tuesday.

Nearly one thousand students gathered in the auditorium to learn about addiction. For hours they attentively listened to Douglas Darby, Anthony Alvarado and Nadine Machkovech tell their stories of living with addiction. Many of the stories about family problems, abuse and hopelessness brought tears to their eyes (and definitely to mine). We were able to see how powerfully drugs can hold onto someone, no matter who they are.

This all came to a pinnacle when the speakers asked for students who were effected by drug and alcohol addiction to stand up. Students shared that they had lost loved ones like parents, siblings, cousins, grandparents and best friends. The rest of the audience stood to show their support, some gave hugs and words of encouragement.

At the end of the talk I was invited to share Party.0 with the audience. We talked about standing out, instead of fitting in and how that can actually lead you to solving this problem instead of perpetuating it. I shared how college students are hosting sober house parties for their peers and even invited the students to do the same. Within a few hours, 15 students had already contacted us to lead these events for their school.

Party.0 won’t look the same for high school as it does with college, but that’s ok. Students in high school are interested in having a lock-in, going on ski-trips and having a massive movie night in their gymnasium. College students are more interested in having house parties without any drugs or alcohol. Either way, it’s an opportunity for them to have fun, make friends and build connections around positive choices.

Working with Rise Together was a blast and together we gave the students an education and a call to action. We left them with the opportunity to create a sustainable program as well! I look forward to seeing what happens as a result to our collaboration and the group of passionate students at Ripon High.