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Jessica Smith makes no claim to campaign with the likes of Barack Obama or presidential challenger Mitt Romney. She’s content to be president of something else, the Bartholomew County Substance Abuse Council.
The Bartholomew County Substance Abuse Council’s fifth-annual Desperate Households conference will be from 8 a.m. to 1:15 p.m. Oct. 3 at the Community Church of Columbus, 3850 N. Marr Road. Indiana Wesleyan professor Al Long, Columbus North cross-country coach Rick Weinheimer and members of the council are among those speaking at the event.
And they intend to inspire.
If you go
WHAT: Desperate Households, sponsored by the Bartholomew County Substance Abuse Council
WHERE: Community Church of Columbus, 3850 N. Marr Road
WHEN: 8 a.m. to 1:15 p.m., Oct. 3
To register, email Dana Fisher at firstname.lastname@example.org.
“(Desperate Households) really covers a lot of different areas,” Smith said. “It’s broad. It could reach multiple levels of the community. Addiction touches a lot of lives.
“There is hope that it doesn’t have to be like this.”
Weinheimer, who led the North boys cross-country team to three straight state titles, is scheduled to open Desperate Households with a speech titled, “Building a Champion: Team and Community.”
Laura Ungar, a reporter for the Louisville Courier-Journal who wrote a series on prescription pill abuse, will follow Weinheimer.
Long will talk about his latest book, “Alone in the Crowd,” which tells the story of his childhood friend who was born into a household marred by poverty and an alcoholic father but became a productive member of society.
“This is an opportunity for hope,” said Larry Perkinson, the council’s secretary. “It’s not only free, but the Communities that Care program will provide lunch and a speaker from the Indiana Prevention Resource center.”
Lunch begins at 12:15 p.m. with Communities that Care representative Eric Riddle explaining the program’s role and future plans in Columbus.
Perkinson estimated 100 people attended the first three Desperate Households event.
Last year, however, keynote speaker Lonise Bias attracted about 250 people to attend. Her son, Len, was an All-American college basketball player from Maryland, drafted second overall by the Boston Celtics, who died in 1986 of a drug overdose before he could ever play a professional basketball game.
“I think part of the hope is that people are watchful and are recognizing (substance abuse) is something we are going to deal with,” Perkinson said. “We want to address issues and say at the same time, ‘You know what, you can make it through this.’”
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