It is always nice when athletes and other celebrities speak out to children against the dangers of drugs and alcohol. Recently, Olympic speed skater Apolo Ohno spoke to middle school students in Stamford, Connecticut on the dangers of underage drinking and the importance of living a drug-free life style.
Ohno was joined by Congressman Jim Himes, who were the guest speakers for the "Ask, Listen, Learn: Kids and Alcohol Don't Mix" program put on by Diageo and The Century Council.
"You guys are at a point where you have fresh minds and can absorb and make a real impact," Ohno, the most decorated Olympian in the winter games' history, told students. "Follow what you love, be open and focus on what you love."
Ohno and Himes stressed the importance of being free from drugs and alcohol and resisting peer pressure. The two strongly encouraged the open conversation between adults and children about drug and alcohol awareness. Parents, teachers, older siblings or family members are all valuable resources, the congressman and the eight-time Olympic medalist told students.
Ohno encouraged students to find people who will help, not hurt, their goals and aspirations. Without the positive influences of his father and others around him, he said, his success as a speed skater would not have been possible.
"Everyone needs a positive influence," Ohno said.