It has taken less than two years for Tyler's Light, the Pickerington-based drug awareness organization, to make what supporters are calling major strides in its mission to bring attention to the growing drug problem in Ohio.
Monday, Jan. 28, at 7 p.m.,Tyler's Light will hold its second annual "Town Hall" meeting at Pickerington North High School, 7800 Refugee Road, to update the community about both the organization's progress thus far and its ambitious plans for the future.
Tyler's Light is named after Tyler Campbell, a popular Pickerington High School North and University of Akron football player who died of an accidental overdose in 2011.
The Town Hall meeting comes on the heels of the nonprofit organization's successful 2012 "Speak Up, Save a Life" awareness campaign, in which more than 14,000 students from throughout Ohio were educated about the dangers and repercussions of drug abuse and addiction.
Tyler's Light Vice President Pat Durbin said the meeting is intended to set the tone for an aggressive agenda for this year, which will include the launching of a targeted fundraising campaign for Tyler's Lighthouse, a proposed meeting/recreation center the organization is planning to build in Pickerington.
"We want to explain what we're about and give a real quick snapshot of what we said we were going to do and what we've done," said Durbin, who added the organization has "not only met, but exceeded our goals" for 2012.
Durbin said the same video that Tyler's Light shows to students will be shown at the Town Hall meeting "to give parents an idea what is seen."
The free event will also feature three guest speakers: WBNS-TV (Channel 10) news anchorman Jerry Revish, Mike Powell of Operation Street Smart and author Ed Hughes, who wrote the book Baffled by Addiction, which offers strategies about how families can deal with addiction.
Durbin said the town hall meeting will also function as a "call to action" to the community in order to secure volunteers for the numerous events Tyler's Light holds throughout the year.
Tyler's Light hosted the largest 5K event in central Ohio in 2012, which attracted about 1,600 participants and raised more than $75,000. Durbin said he hopes to galvanize community support to staff future events.
He said the "Speak Up, Save a Life" motto is always being reinforced.
"If you have knowledge of a friend, acquaintance or someone in the family (that is struggling with addiction), rather than keeping it a secret, speak up (and) tell a parent, a friend, tell a counselor, so they can get the help they need," Durbin said.
He said one the goals of Tyler's Light is to break the stigma associated with addiction.
"It's not a reflection on how somebody raises their son or daughter, this is a disease," Durbin said, adding that spreading the message "is a marathon, not a sprint."
In addition to Durbin, Wayne Campbell, Tyler Campbell's father and president of Tyler's Light, will also speak at the event.
"When my family and I sought guidance and treatment for Tyler, we didn't know where to turn," Campbell said.
"It was a dark time for my family, but through Tyler's Light we've been able to turn our personal tragedy into hope and empowerment for others," he said.
"I'm amazed by what we've been able to accomplish and I'll be forever grateful for the people who have joined this fight," Campbell said.
For more information about Tyler's Light and the Town Hall meeting, go to the website tylerslight.com.