Think Being a Teen is Tough, Throw Addiction Into The Mix

This is a guest post by Brittany Beck, Healthy Youth-Healthy Communities Specialist (HY-HC) at Jewish Family and Children’s Service (JFCS) of Minneapolis. HY-HC is a preventative program for youth in grades 5 through college that addresses relationship, drug and alcohol abuse and mental health issues. Questions? Contact Brittany at [email protected].
Who is an addict? After all, addicts aren’t just regular people living regular lives, right? Addicts must have had horrible upbringings. Addicts had to have been abused, bullied or neglected which lead them to a life of addiction to their drug of choice. Addicts drop out of school, get in trouble with the police and their only friends are their dealers. An addict does not live in a suburb of Minnesota, attend religious school and have loving parents who are married and successful. An addict is an outcast, someone who has tried desperately to fit in and just can’t. An addict does not grow up in a middle or upper class home. An addict is not Jewish… Right?


There are no addicts, but rather people who suffer from an addiction, and they are not easily identified.
Sam grew up in a typical Jewish home. He was given many of the same opportunities that most Jewish youth are given.  People would not have looked at him and seen red flags.
Unfortunately, at a very young age, Sam spiraled downward into a battle with addiction that no one would have expected. Now in recovery for over two years, Sam will speak openly and honestly about his struggle and provide insight into what it is like living with addiction at the Not OUR Kids! Conference on Sunday, February 26, 2012. The conference runs from 12:30 – 4:30 p.m. at Temple Israel (2324 Emerson Avenue South, Minneapolis).
Anyone who is interested in raising healthy youth, including parents, grandparents, educators, clergy, youth workers and professionals, may attend this free day. This year’s conference will provide both education and insight into various facets of families’ lives, as well as guidance for those who may be struggling with difficult issues.
Breakout sessions will focus on topics such as bullying, eating disorders, depression, Internet safety, and more. This year we are excited to welcome Rabbi Sim Glaser who will be discussing happiness in everyday life.
To read more about all the speakers, workshops, and discussions that will be offered at the conference, visit the website at the
There will also be more than 15 different area organizations in the resource room from 12:15-5 p.m., with representatives available from 12:15-1 p.m.
 Healthy Youth-Healthy Communities, which sponsors the conference, is a collaboration of Jewish Family and Children’s Service of Minneapolis and Jewish Family Service of St. Paul.
(Photo: R.F.M. II)