At Risk Youth – Who are they really?

William’s Story

Join me, David Magee, Michael Julian, and Katy Bray for an open and honest round table discussion connected in 3 parts of the country and a variety of perspectives. This topic about the dangers of substance abuse is SO big it was difficult for me personally to start facilitating the conversation. I awkwardly just looked up at this mountain and took the first shaky step and the rest of the conversation just flowed with these brave, candid and beautiful individuals. This episode is intended to brainstorm by sharing personal issues and stories. I want to be very clear; this is NOT a platform for blame, shame or finger pointing. This is intended to be a safe place to share openly in order to problem solve.

When I stumbled across a newspaper article spreading through my social media circles written by a fellow college classmate, it felt like a force had taken ahold of me and shook me to my core. I knew this force would not let me go until I contacted the author, David Magee, to ask if we could discuss his deeply personal story that was also so universal and so multi-faceted. It only took reading the first few lines of the article to make me feel like I could not breathe. His article was intended to warn university students of the dangers of binge and risky behavior and to let them know it does not have to be a right of passage when you enter college. He and his family made the brave decision to share their son’s story of an accidental fatal overdose in hopes it would resonate and help others. What he did with this story/article was bust down the door of shame and free everyone that was locked behind it to share their own stories and to discuss topics normally considered taboo or “dirty laundry”. Free people to breathe….I am not alone…free people to make their OWN decisions…free people of peer pressure….free students to care about and help their peers…free us all to dump all of our, now uncorded, shame, crap and dirty laundry out in the open. We are all now free to discuss and sort through all this old uncomfortable stuff together and finally use it to problem solve. Free to come together as a community to create some solutions to foster healing and brainstorm about prevention.

William Magee was a 2012 Ole Miss graduate who was in the Sally McDonnell Barksdale Honors College and the Croft Institute for International Studies. William was remembered by everyone as the young man with the beautiful smile; kind, sweet, and popular – he seemed to have it all. He lettered in track and was named to the SEC academic honor roll. The 400 hurdles are considered by many to be one of the most difficult in sports, and William had the courage to walk on and do it in the SEC. If only we could see the dangers and unpredictability of life’s hurdles. If only we could see the suffering hidden behind his beautiful smile, the social anxiety, general anxiety and low self-esteem.

William’s story is the same story as when we were at Ole Miss in the 80’s. It makes me wonder and almost have a survivor’s guilt – why am I still alive – how come I got to live…. ? This story is still, as if not more, relevant as it was when I was in school – I have to say though I was seriously shocked and saddened. I felt like this was something I HAD to explore because for some strange reason the universe let me live. Unfortunately, Williams story is sadly becoming a common story. Young men in particular still seem uncomfortable discussing anxiety, depression and dark feelings and the opioid crisis has become a full-blown epidemic. Last year 115 Americans died every day from an accidental overdose and the rate of these deaths has risen 522% since 2002. At this point I don’t know anyone that has not been affected by this personally.

“For Ole Miss freshmen: My son William’s story” By David Magee
“A new freshman class started at Ole Miss this week and I wish I could tell them all this story.
It’s about my oldest son, William, who was a freshman in 2008. He would gladly tell them himself, if only he were alive.”
https://www.oxfordeagle.com/2016/08/28/my-son-williams-story-shared-to-help-others/

I was honored and humbled that William’s family would let me interview David, William’s father, for my Podcast Grey Matters Now – let’s change the world one difficult conversation at a time please!

The hope and manifestation of positive change in just one year! Below – The William Magee Center For Wellness Education at Ole Miss.

The William Magee Center for Wellness Education is open to receive gifts from individuals and organizations by mailing a check with the center’s name in the memo line to the University of Mississippi Foundation, 406 University Ave., Oxford, MS 38655.

For information on the wellness center and how you can contribute:

https://www.oxfordeagle.com/2017/11/20/strong-response-propels-william-magee-center-wellness-education-ole-miss/#undefined.gbpl.gbpl

Resources and helpful articles:

More about Michael Julian and his very personal healing journey : https://www.ems1.com/mental-health/articles/202743048-How-I-found-a-way-out-and-back-to-what-I-love-as-a-paramedic/

Resources for anyone or someone you care about struggling with addiction:

https://www.aa.org/
https://al-anon.org/https://www.na.org/http://www.nar-anon.org/

Not just for the immediately suicidal, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline Is a national network of local crisis centers that provide free and confidential emotional support to people in suicidal crisis or emotional distress 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
suicidepreventionlifeline.org

How and why Grey Matters Now?

The birth and journey to Grey Matters Now.  This is the story of the birth of Grey Matters Now and the journey that shaped who I am today and my evolving life purpose and mission.

 

About Katy:

Katy Bray is the Owner and Founder of Lead With The Lights On. I met Katy at a certification class I was attending.  She was a speaker and I was immediately drawn to her energy and her work. I felt like she was speaking just to me – ha!  I looked her up, we connected, and she became my endeavor birth doula. She is a genius and believes integrating the various aspects of leadership such as self, team, and higher purpose is key to the success of our emerging leaders. She is also an amazing, intuitive and genuinely kind human!  She and her husband and business partner Zebulon have been above and beyond comprehensively supportive and resourceful both professionally and personally.

 

About Me – a two part episode

I am a Social Worker by title that’s been working in social services at some capacity for almost 30 years. Over those 30 years I have worked in a variety of diverse fields and demographics. I have had the honor of working with people at both ends of life’s spectrum from reproductive health, to ropes courses, to hospice and so much in between.

It is my personal journey as much as my professional one that has shaped who I am and my life’s mission.

In this episode, I share my personal story. I open up and let myself be completely vulnerable.  Normally this wouldn’t be a big deal as I have told my story over and over too many times to count in the last 40 years.  In my mind, this was going to be the most simple and natural episode to record as my intention was to introduce an amazing woman, Katy Bray, who helped me synergize my ideas into one living endeavor and tell my personal story that led me to the place I am in now. Piece of cake right?  Not exactly…

This specific project or episode, became this unique and unconventional experience, as do most things in my life.  I have to say though, this passage I went through was unexpected and caught me completely off guard and unsure about how to process it at first. It sent me down some unfamiliar winding uncharted roads I had to figure out how to navigate. It took some exploring as it turned into visceral surfacing of emotions and then I actually had memories come back to me that have NEVER surfaced before. So – in the spirit of walking the walk and being way out of my comfort zone with an intention of sharing to universalize this experience, I processed these feelings live on this podcast.  

I had a big lesson in overcoming fear – don’t let the fear of your past keep you from moving forward. This was not easy for me – as a matter of fact, it has taken me forever to create this episode (3 separate recordings!!!). My hopes are that me sharing may help someone else go to that place of processing and healing. I certainly did not expect this experience to turn into Ms. Anne’s wild ride but it did and I buckled up and rode it.  Moving forward I hope that this takes you in the direction that best serves you.. fasten your seat belts, let’s go!

Resources

To find grief support contact any hospice in your area. Resources can be found through:

Nhpco.org

Not just for the immediately suicidal, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline Is a national network of local crisis centers that provide free and confidential emotional support to people in suicidal crisis or emotional distress 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Suicidepreventionlifeline.org

To find out more about Katy Bray and Zebulon Severson and their conscious based leadership program

http://www.leadwiththelightson.com

 

Have the latest massacres and disasters left you feeling stunned, fearful, angry, saddened, or polarized?

This free-flowing conversation with my friend, colleague and fellow Social worker Kenn just happened to be a month after The Pulse Night Club shooting and the day of the massacre in the South of France – Bastille Day.

Are you ready to explore the ever-changing tone of the world and the emotional climate change that comes with it?

After a tragedy, shock and horror start to manifest into fear. Navigating through everyday life changes as our perception and new emotions make moving forward in a healing direction challenging. Do you find it hard to figure out how to move from reaction to action and to not be consumed by negativity? Humanity, community, courage, good and beauty exist in a huge way. Oh my goodness – the world has been on quite the roller coaster since this podcast! Join us for a broad open discussion about moving through our world with an open heart and mind.

Do you ever wonder why cat videos are so popular? What is it about animals that makes us feel so good? There’s a bond between animals and humans that is so powerful without even speaking a word.

It was an honor to have Robin Cohen, the director of the Pet Encounter Therapy program at the Helen Woodward Animal Center as our guest to explore and learn more about the unique and powerful human /animal relationship.

This organization has always been a trailblazer; evolving with the times and creating new programs as quickly as the world needs new resources!

Did you think that Helen Woodward Animal Center was just an animal rescue shelter? In this podcast, learn why they’re so much more! A nationally recognized center that provides a variety of services that benefit the community through educational and therapeutic programs for people and humane care and adoption for animals.

I encourage you to link to the HWAC website below and learn more about their impressive and comprehensive services…

The Mission Of The Helen Woodward Animal Center:

Helen Woodward Animal Center’s passionate belief that animals help people and people help animals through trust, unconditional love, and respect creates a legacy of caring. Sharing this philosophy with others, the Center inspires and teaches, locally and globally, the importance of the animal-human bond.

https://animalcenter.org/

What exactly is a life coach? Someone who guides you to your own intuition and intrinsic ability to reach your goals. Rich says he likes to be like a mirror, reflecting back to his clients the best version of themselves.

In this episode Grey Matters Now explores the resources and compelling journey of a Life Coach. Meet and connect with Richard – a coach who does not sit on the sidelines and is VERY much in the game!

Richard Oceguera is the premiere personal development coach for professionals who want to Be Connected. He offers workshops, customized group training, private coaching and his weekly inspirational Facebook LIVE broadcast Motivation Monday.

In this podcast, we follow Richard’s inspirational journey and hear his own personal awakenings that shaped who he is today.

Learn more about Richard at http://www.FB.com/RichOceguera

Ready to talk trash with folk artist and holistic health practitioner Rodrigo? A unique and deep character who’s collected wisdom along his organic journey living amongst many different cultures. Environmental steward and surfer meets Sanford and Son – we invite you to step into the “fun zone”.

This is the first of a series of podcasts about the environment. Protecting and helping the environment can seem like such a huge task it can leave us feeling overwhelmed and almost paralyzed. Meet Rodrigo; one guy that has been walking the walk and talking the talk of sustainability to live by example his whole life.

Join me and Rodrigo McCoubrey as we discuss how we can make a difference as an individual or a community to keep our planet beautiful. As he says “you’ve got to inspire by doing!” – Let’s talk trash!

https://www.rodrigosrecycledart.com/

Online Press, video, and Publications

  • The Surfers Journal, Volume Fifteen Number One, Page 81
  • Encinitas CBS8, From Trash to Treasure, March 9, 2011
  • Encinitas Patch, 2012
  • Surf Channel, August 19, 2014
  • Del Mar Lifestyle, March 28, 2016
  • The Surfer’s Journal, Volume 26 Number Three, Inside Cover, Rainbow Sandals Ad