August and September for many people and most families is like the beginning of a new year, it is for sure the closing of the fancy-free summertime and the start of a brand new school year, a brand new structure.

It’s a time when families and kids, and really people in general, start fresh, begin again, make all new plans, set up a life framework, a household framework and they do it all with the best of intentions. It is exciting.

They sign up for school. They sign up for football. They sign up for ballet. They sign up for photography. They sign up for astronomy. Basically, everybody signs up for a trillion extra curricular activities and a lot of times they forget to sign up for the most important thing and that is the journey of the heart.

Please note most families in the passageway of middle and high school are sometimes faced with unique challenges, challenges like a difficult time with communication and connection, anger or isolation, and a lot of times with drug and alcohol use. It can be scary and it’s no secret that for kids, drug and alcohol use and abuse is pervasive, tenacious, hurts everybody’s hearts, saddens families, and steals people blind.

Please be proactive in your hearts, remember your heart, be brave. If you see something or you wonder, your heart will tell you, just reach out and ask, just reach out and speak. Whether you are a parent, whether you are a teen, or whether you’re a kid ask someone for help, it can be a priest, a teacher, a friend, a therapist, a counselor, or even call a hotline, don’t be afraid to do something, it is the beginning of prevention.

The cautionary tale is simple and it’s true; the American dream of the white picket fence is not around our houses, our jobs, or our checkbooks; it’s around our families, our kids, and their hearts.

To protect your family’s hearts and to gain more factual information please view the following websites: Angels at Risk, Committee for Children, National Institute on Drug Abuse, DARE, The Partnership at Drug-Free Kids.