When Milton Creagh speaks about drugs and alcohol in the Bronx, "all the parents show up," the motivational speaker told Skaneateles High School students on Tuesday. "Parents in the Bronx are worried their kids won't make it."
When he speaks in places like Skaneateles, Baldwinsville and Fayetteville, the parents don't show up in the same kinds of numbers, he said. "Your parents think you are protected," he told students. What a tragic error in thinking.
Contrary to what parents might like to think, kids in places like Skaneateles have just as much access to drugs and alcohol.
In fact, "kids in towns like Skaneateles use 300 percent more drugs than kids in the 'hood," because they can afford to buy them. "Kids in the hood sell the drugs," he said.
Creagh, a motivational speaker who came to the area with Prevention Network, made many such in-your-face statements in a voice that was impossible to ignore. He used every ounce of his six-foot seven-inch body and every decimal of his voice to try to make his point: nothing good comes from drugs and alcohol. Getting high or drunk is no laughing matter, he said in a booming voice, chastising anyone who seemed to smirk or to grin.
The charismatic Creagh won everyone's attention before he got serious by mocking himself "back in the day" as a black teenager growing up and trying to be cool in his Chicago neighborhood. He had everyone laughing at and identifying with the illogical thinking sometimes used by kids growing up.
"How many of you know someone who did something dumb, stupid or dangerous so they wouldn't look afraid?" he asked. The majority of hands went up. "How many of YOU have done something dumb, stupid or dangerous to avoid looking afraid?" The hands went up again.