May-June CBA Report

14 l May/June 2019 CBA REPORT The BeEx Foundation — Be Excellent, Be Exceptional, Be Extraor- dinary — is a passion for Robert Buechner, a founding member of the Health and Well-Being Committee. His purpose in founding the organization was to ‘bring the HEAT’ to today’s teens to encourage them as leaders in creating a healthier, safer future for all of us. HEAT stands for Holistically Empowering All Teens. HEAT is about educating teens about drug abuse, violence and suicide prevention through education and teen empowerment. This charity was started because of my personal experience of having five friends lose sons or grandsons to opioid addiction; a business manager whose daughter and son-in-law have been addicts, and a society that is developing an increasingly permis- sive attitude toward marijuana. Marijuana is six times stronger today than it was when my friends and your friends were exper- imenting with it in college and law school. According to the Hamilton County Coroner, Dr. Lakshmi Sammarco, a member of our advisory board, “Marijuana has permanent lasting nega- tive impacts on the brain if used before the age of 25.” The rising rates of teen suicide, including the recent death of a Walnut Hills eighth grader and the suicides of two Turpin students, is alarming to me. The rates of school violence are shocking and unacceptable. Something needed to be done to address these issues. So, I teamed with Tara Robinson, HEAT’s program director, a life coach and mother of three. Together we made the commit- ment to help teens connect passion and purpose and live lives that do not include drug abuse, violence or suicidal thoughts. Early on, Robinson met with students in focus groups to understand which communication platform was most effec- tive for reaching them. As a result, we developed social media communication through Snapchat and Instagram to reach teens. Anyone can become a follower of HEAT_Empowering_Teens on Instagram to receive information on what is happening with our organization. Through the focus groups and work with other experts in the field, we learned the same root causes of depression and anxiety underly not only drug abuse, but also teen suicide and school violence. On social media, and also in person at our monthly HEAT Teen Leadership Summits, we provide information about reducing stress, creating social safety at school, and living in balance to help address these root causes. Dr. Anu Mital serves as our medical director whose passion can be seen in his work with HEAT. He describes the value of the organization by stating, “As doctors, we are about saving lives. It is very difficult for us to ever spend enough time with patients to inform them of all the risks of drug use, especially when the land- scape is changing daily. So, it is with great pleasure and purpose I serve on the advisory board of this charity to make sure that the information that is disseminated is correct, factual and as hard hitting as possible.” HEAT’S purpose is to get information to teens so that they can make decisions based on understanding the consequences, both positive and negative, of what they choose. The challenge is and has always been that teens like to experiment and be different – they need to understand that the consequences of doing adven- turous activities in today’s environment can be disastrous and, in some cases, deadly. For example, some very bright kids in Indian Hill got together to have a pill party where everyone brought a pill from home. The last person to take a pill was a very smart Living with Passion and Purpose by Empowering Teens to Change the Future By Robert W. Buechner Balanced Living