Have you ever been doing something that seems to make the time fly by, and as you are doing it, you feel joyful and exhilarated? Well, that activity may be your natural high, and those feelings are what San Diego-based non-profit Natural High aims for every child to grow up having. Following the loss of his two younger brothers to drug addiction, founder Jon Sundt started Natural High in 1994 with the hopes of changing the drug prevention landscape and making lasting, positive change in the lives of youth.
The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse reports that 9 out of 10 Americans who are addicted to drugs and alcohol began using before the age of 18. 1 in 4 Americans who began using any addictive substance before age 18 are addicted, compared to 1 in 25 who started using at age 21 or older. With 20,000 youth trying drugs for the first time every day, this makes drug prevention at the adolescent stage tremendously crucial.
While other drug prevention efforts have employed scare tactics or “Just Say No” methods, Natural High takes a more positive approach, aiming to give youth a reason to say “YES” – yes to life, passions and dreams. The organization’s mission is to inspire and empower youth to find their natural high and develop the skills and courage to live life well. Today, over 8 million youth across the country have been inspired to find their natural high and have been armed with the skills necessary to help them maneuver through life. Much of the success of Natural High’s reach is due to the partnerships it has with over 20,000 educators nationwide. It is these teachers who see firsthand the impact the videos and curriculum make, and it is because of their enthusiasm and commitment that the Natural High message continues to be spread.
By joining the Natural High education network, teachers have access to the entire library of celebrity storyteller videos, along with free science-based, youth-approved curriculum that meets Common Core standards. These videos and curriculum are easy to use and allow educators, parents and mentors to spark meaningful conversations with youth.
This year, Natural High is inviting the community to join them at their annual gala on Saturday, September 10th at the Hilton La Jolla Torrey Pines. New England Patriots Running Back Donald Brown (formerly of the San Diego Chargers) will be honored with the 2016 Game Changer Award, along with San Diego native, Van Nhi Huynh, who will be recognized as the 2016 Youth Ambassador, and Stacey Sanders and Brian Polston of Lake Isabella, California, as the 2016 Educators of the Year.
Funds raised at this gala will support the efforts to reach millions more youth nationwide. Natural High has received contributions from many corporations, individuals and family foundations. The McMillen Family Foundation in particular has provided a grant to increase the reach among educators and schools in Orange County and Los Angeles.
For more information about Natural High, please visit www.naturalhigh.org. Please consider joining the Natural High education network, or referring others to join, in order to gain access to all of the free, life-changing resources.