Resident, Mark D’Ambrosio knows firsthand what it’s like to be on the receiving end of grief caused by addiction. Having lost far too many loved ones as a result of drug and alcohol dependence, the 40-year-old father of three has made it his mission to take a proactive stance on substance abuse education in the community. On April 15, D’Ambrosio will be proving his passion for the cause by running the Boston Marathon, on a challenging journey to raise $10,000 for Community Action for Safe Alternatives (CASA).
“The goal is to try and provide preventative education to the kids in the community, in hopes of avoiding the heartbreak that a lot of families, myself included, have experienced,” said D’Ambrosio. “If we can do that, then it has been a huge success.”
CASA Executive Director, LeighAnn Eruzione, is beyond thrilled about D’Ambrosio’s dedication and is hoping that the funds will provide some much-needed education for both parents and children in the community.
“Our hope is that it will expand what we are already doing and take us a step further with programming,” said Eruzione. “It’s important to reach parents and get them involved in the process when their kids are at a young age, instead of waiting for unfortunate situations to arise.”
Part of the programming would be dedicated to identifying risk factors in young kids, in hopes of putting preventative measures in place and introducing parents to the knowledge surrounding the language of addiction and substance abuse.
“These curriculums cost money and it all comes down to funding. We need to be the most effective and impactful with the resources that we have,” Eruzione said.
CASA’s main focus is to provide educational tools that foster healthy decision making amongst families in the community.
“We need to provide our kids with a fighting chance and it’s essential to get ahead and be realistic about substance misuse,” said Deanna Faretra, parent and CASA community partner. “No one wants to think that their kid will be a victim to addiction, but as we’ve seen in our community over recent years, it can happen to anyone and it impacts everybody. The goal is to get ahead, and education is key.”
While D’Ambrosio also ran the Boston Marathon in 2015, when he approaches the finish line this time around, he will be thinking of those who have left his life far too early and how he can better the future going forward. As a Winthrop youth football coach and little league coach, he is immersed in watching the community’s young athletes grow up.
“Having lost a brother in 1995, and four classmates from my Class of 1997, each loss was profound. But now that I have kids, I can’t begin to imagine what my parents went thru. In high school, the freshman football team had 20 kids on it. Three of those 20 kids didn’t make their 40th birthday and were victims of this disease. As I coach the 7th grade Winthrop Youth Football team, and see 20 kids in that group, I want to teach them better and keep them on the right path. So, the goal is to make sure that happens, and avoid any parent, sibling or friend getting that call.”
If you are interested in supporting D’Ambrosio as he runs for CASA, please donate at: https://www.mightycause.com/story/Marksforcasa
or contact [email protected]
or contact [email protected]