Town Hall Meeting Addresses the Dangers of Substance Abuse

Posted September 7, 2018 / Last updated September 11, 2018

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On Thursday, Sept. 6, guidance director Mary Favalora led a Town Hall Meeting focused on parents’ role in helping their sons make healthy choices, especially with regard to avoiding alcohol and drugs.

Favalora began the presentation by addressing challenges that parents and students might face in the upcoming school year. Quoting Yoda, “The greatest teacher, failure is,” she told parents to look at failure from the perspective of their sons’ growth. She advised parents to resist the urge to swoop in and fix all of their problems. Failure is a valuable lesson that young men need to learn how to cope and grow. She then compared their adolescent development to learning how to walk, reminding parents that they were not overprotective so their toddlers wouldn’t fall, but created a safe and supportive environment for them to learn in. She did, however, encourage parents to stay involved in their son’s lives in other ways and help them make safe and healthy choices.

She then outlined the Student Assessment Program’s mission to identify, support, and educate students whose behaviors seem to indicate family, academic, emotional, or social problems that could lead to negative consequences such as substance abuse. The program’s goal is to help these students avoid alcohol and drugs by providing the structure they need to make healthy decisions. As an adjunct to their grade-level counselor, Jesuit’s coordinator of student assessment and development Stephen Maffei ’08 meets regularly with students in the program to discuss everything from relapse prevention and stress to grades and social problems.

Trooper First Class Melissa Matey spoke to parents about the Sudden Impact program, educating them on the harmful effects of drinking and driving.

Favalora then turned the presentation over to “Sudden Impact” program director and registered nurse Bridget Gardner and Trooper First Class Melissa Matey who gave parents practical information to help encourage their sons to make better driving decisions. University Medical Center’s “Sudden Impact” program seeks to provide parents with the tools needed to keep their children safe as they navigate Mardi Gras, Jazz Fest, spring break, and prom festivities. The educational program is designed to prevent injuries and fatalities from driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs and/or from driving without a seat belt.  By raising awareness, changing substance use attitudes and behaviors, and encouraging better choices, students more ably find alternatives to risk-taking behaviors. 

The evening concluded with a question and answer session.

Jesuit’s Town Hall meetings focus on topics affecting youth and their parents. These meetings are open to all parents and attendance is strongly encouraged. The meetings reflect timely topics affecting youth, and therefore change each year.

If you have any questions, please contact Jesuit’s coordinator of student assessment and development Stephen Maffei ’08 at or (504) 483-3828

For more information, parents might find the following resources helpful in talking with their children: