Flo & Gil Mulhere (Kevin Mulhere)
After we lost our son Kevin to a drug overdose on February 2, 2003 , we sought ways that we could help other parents and adolescents deal with the dangers of drug and alcohol abuse. Although this has been a very difficult journey , we have been immensely rewarded by the opportunity to be part of California Youth Services (CYS). We do this to help prevent the pain, destruction, lost potential and even death, that substance abuse and delinquent behavior may invariably bring to a youth and their family. We know that we are making a difference in many lives . This is our commitment to work with CYS in memory of our precious son Kevin who we love and miss so much.
David Hungerford (Shanon Hungerford)
Since we lost Shanon to a drug overdose the sense of loss and sadness we feel is beyond words. How could such a beautiful, bright and popular young girl fall victim to drug abuse? Her tragic story illustrates that no young person is safe from the potential destruction of drug abuse. Upon her death I made a vow that Shanon would not just be buried and forgotten. I knew that her life had meaning and her life had a purpose. I felt that if her story could help other young people her short life on this earth would have a positive lasting legacy. Since becoming involved in CYS I have spoken to many young people and their parents. I know in my heart that Shanon and I are helping save other young lives and she is proud of the work we are doing together.
Delita & Peter Kiggen (Karla-Rae Kiggen)
The loss of our precious daughter Karla-Rae to a drug overdose has been absolutely devastating to our family. The continual deep pain and sense of loss is never ending.
Karla was an outstanding student at school and college, she always performed at the highest level and for her to choose to take a drug cocktail at a camping party is very difficult to understand and accept.
Once we came to realize the escalating dangers of substance abuse to our youth we searched for a community based program whereby Karla could tell her story through us to her friends and larger peer group. We subsequently joined CYS as it gave us the forum to address both parents and children at the same time thus ensuring that the family listen to Karla's story and hopefully gain the strength needed to fight this scourge. We know that Karla is with us every day to help us in the fight to save lives.
To see her story go to www.facebook.com and search for KARLA-RAE DELITA KIGGEN
Debi Ellis-Escalante (Michael Escalante, Jr.)
Michael's smile and energy lit up a room. He was intelligent, articulate, hysterically funny, passionate, sweet and drop dead gorgeous. He excelled in football, baseball, basketball, wrote songs and poetry, and loved his big brother, family and friends with a fiery passion. To know him was to love him and so many people did.
There is no pain or loss that will ever come close to the loss of my youngest son Michael to the ravages of drug addiction. Michael had just been released from a local hospital with medications recalibrated to treat his bi polar disorder. 10 days later, on November 10th, 2004, he was found dead, his heart twice the size of a normal heart. Cause of death Hypertrophic Heart Disease, a direct result of continued abuse of prescription and street drugs. He was a ticking time bomb and we had no idea.
I began working with CYS and JADE after speaking at length with Flo Mulhere a few months after Michael died. I truly did not think I would survive the loss of my son and she told me that helping others would help me to make more sense of Michael's death. Our collective story could help others. She was absolutely correct. I speak because I know it saves lives and is unique in that it allows me to reach both parents and children, each in a different and profound way. I know that Michael is very proud that his story is helping others and he stands very near me every time I speak. I wish there had been a CYS available to my family many years ago. I truly believe my story might have been very different.