"In honor of Ian, I promise never to try, take or abuse drugs and to encourage others to do the same"
"I am now positive that I will never do drugs for any reason," said Robbie, a seventh grader at Roton Middle School.
The Courage to Speak Foundation held it's 10th Annual Drug Free Family Night Tuesday night, encouraging Norwalk students & families to stay drug free together.
"It's so important that parents really get the message to their children. Talk to them. The number one key as a parent to a child is to talk to them about drugs. The parents are here tonight to listen to their child and to support them," said Ginger Katz, CEO and Founder of the Courage to Speak Foundation and author of Sunny's Story.
Albert, a fourth grader at Brookside Elementary School said, "I learned that drugs are not only bad for your health, but it could make you do things you don't want to do."
Student written letters & posters lined tables & the walls of West Rocks Middle School all with one common theme - to say no to drugs.
"Just seeing it through a mother's eyes is just different. I always knew that drugs were bad but it just seems really hard," said Juliet, a seventh grader at Ponus Ridge Middle School.
"Drugs can ruin your life by getting you addicted and then you'll eventually die,"said Alexander, a fifth grader at Side by Side Charter School.
Students shared their drug free vows reflecting on Ginger Katz' story and the Courage to Speak curriculum taught during the year.
"I never want my family to smoke."
"Don't do drugs. They are very bad for you and can do damage to a human being's body."
Katz created the Courage to Speak curriculum after losing her son Ian to a drug overdose 18 years ago.
Ponus Ridge Middle School seventh grader Tamia said, "Drugs can really ruin your life. If someone offers you a cigarette or something you should say no because that can change your life forever."
"I know that people in my family have smoked pot, and when I heard this story I could not help but break into tears. When I heard your story I think about who this could happen to in my family and how I could lose someone that I love."
Students say Katz' story and lessons they have learned with Courage to Speak have taught them to think more about their life choices.
Naeomi, a fourth grader at Brookside Elementary School said, "I would not want to do drugs and if I am in middle school and my friends ask me to do drugs and if they say if you don't do it, we will not be your friends anymore I will say I don't care, I do not want to lose my life."
"If you keep doing drugs, imagine your future. What will your life become? We should stand up to drugs because everyone deserves the courage to speak."
For more information about the Courage to Speak Foundation, visit http://www.couragetospeak.com.