On August 15, at the historic Michigan Theater in downtown Ann Arbor, SRSLY Coalitions celebrated 10 years of empowering youth to live healthy, substance-free lives in Chelsea, Dexter, Stockbridge, and Manchester. Donors, volunteers and supporters of the organization attended a special celebration to recognize the difference the coalitions have made in the lives of young people and their families.
“Youth want to be empowered, and they want to live healthy substance-free lives, and they want to feel supported in their decision to do so,” said Reiley Curran, regional director of SRSLY, in delivered remarks. “SRSLY has been making youth feel seen, and heard, and valued, and respected, and supported, and honored for ten years. This work matters, and it is working.”
Attendees enjoyed a reception with food provided by Wesley’s Catering, a presentation, and award ceremony, followed by a special showing of the movie Shrek on the big screen.
To date, SRSLY has coordinated more than 500 events for its communities with the help of 3,000 volunteers, logging a total of 50,000 volunteer hours.
Renae Kempf, a 2016 graduate of Chelsea High School, became a member of SRSLY in the 5th grade and volunteered more than 500 hours by the time she had graduated. Her participation in the program included her traveling to several states to attend workshops and trainings about prevention. She also spoke with representatives in Congress and in the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy.
“SRSLY outlined what is so clear to me now, two very distinct paths,” said Kempf in delivered remarks. “I am forever grateful to say that because of SRSLY, I chose the right one. I absolutely would not be the person I am today without those skills that SRSLY and all the people involved helped to instill in me.”
Chelsea Police Chief Ed Toth spoke about the difference SRSLY has made in the community and how grateful he is for the opportunity to build relationships and have positive contacts with youth.
“I think often times, young folks just need some support from someone who’s not mom or dad,” said Toth in delivered remarks. “Whatever they’re going through, they’re not the only one going through those difficulties, and things are going to be OK.”
SRSLY also recognized Michael and Suzi Coghlan, whose vision and generous gift from the Coghlan Family Foundation launched SRSLY in 2008.
“Words can’t describe the gratitude and respect we have for all of you out there today,” Michael Coghlan said in his remarks. “We could not have imagined what SRSLY is today, and that again is a testament to your time and your efforts.”