CARY Project (Connecting with At-Risk Youth)

CaryThe CARY Project

The ADAMHS Board, with community members, began the CARY Project in the hope of impacting teens experimenting with drugs or alcohol. The CARY Supports, who are community members that have a loved one that has struggled with addiction, will meet with the youth one-on-one to share their realities of drug and alcohol use. Each of the CARY Supports has a child that began drug and alcohol use in the teen years. The use eventually developed into addiction. Some of their children have passed away due to drugs or alcohol. Others are in recovery. Regardless of the result, the CARY Supports want to make sure your child has the opportunity to understand how quickly and quietly addiction develops and the struggles related to overcoming drug or alcohol addiction.

The CARY Project is:

  • A confidential one-on-one meeting with the teen and the CARY Support in a neutral location
  • The teen will identify 10 questions he or she has of the CARY Support and provide them to the CARY Project Manager, Natalie Bollon, at least 3 days prior to the meeting.
  • The meeting between the teen and the CARY Support will last a maximum of 90 minutes
  • The teen will complete a written summary of the meeting and provide this to the Project Manager
    *Even though the CARY Project is a one-time meeting, identifying the questions before the meeting and writing a summary after will ensure the teen is spending time preparing for and revisiting the topic of drugs and alcohol.

The CARY Project is not:

  • A clinical intervention. The CARY Supports are not counselors or social workers. They will share their loved one’s story in the hope that your child will understand the realities of drug and alcohol use and how quickly addiction can develop.

Who are the CARY Supports:

Quote from Mary Otte

OTTESWhen I was asked by the ADAMHS Board if I’d like to be involved with The Cary Project, I readily agreed. I lost my son, Joey, to a heroin overdose and as a mom and on behalf of Joey, my desire is to bring attention to the devastating consequences of drug and alcohol abuse. I want kids to know that there are choices to be made in life that impact their future and to choose wisely who their friends are. I want youth to know we, as Cary support members, care about them and from our own personal experiences we are willing to listen and talk with them. I want those youth, who may be heading down the wrong path, to know that they are loved and are not alone.

Quote from Anita Davis

Anita Rotary PictureNovember 12, 2005 my oldest son, Zachary died of a heroin overdose. This was after many years of counseling, rehabs, doctors, behavior modification camps. My family and I did all that we could to save Zachary, but it was not enough. Since then I have made it my mission to educate teens about the dangers and consequences of drugs. Zachary wanted me to tell others that they have a choice and can have a better life. I have spoken to at least 12,000 kids at schools, churches, libraries and teen centers. I have heard from kids and parents that it is making an impact.

Quotes from the schools:

This is a quote from Derrick Rausch, the Principal of the James R. Wright STAR Alternative school

We got involved with the program due to the difficult task in combating drug usage within the youth population and the importance of the task. Working with this population for the past eight years, I have seen countless personal attempts and programs try to steer children away from peer pressure and drug usage. While most of the programs seem to be very informative, most lack the personal or real life aspect of such a serious topic. Your program not only focuses on those two areas, but creates a point of contact for the child and the parent. The child gets the opportunity to become connected to the pain and heartache that drug addiction has on individuals as well as those around them. This connection seems to be a pivotal aspect that many students do not get listening to a lecture or watching a television series such as Intervention. (That it’ll never happen to me syndrome kicks in) I see the program as a wonderful resource for many of the parents that I encounter that have no idea on how to handle their child’s problem and are searching for guidance before it’s too late. 

Quote from Robert Hamm, Dover High School Superintendent

“We want to do anything we can to prevent the development of addiction in our students. The unique component of this project is the one-on-one interaction between students and community members who have witnessed the development of addiction in their own children. We’ve received positive feedback from school personnel and parents that have participated in the program. Most importantly, students that have participated have noted that this program has helped to make a difference in their lives.”

The CARY Project has been featured:

The downloadable referral form can be access here and sent to:

CARY Project Manager – Natalie Bollon, PCC-S
Manager of Community Services,
ADAMHS Board of Tuscarawas and Carroll Counties
330-364-6488 or 330-627-7912