Making the Right Decisions
(“He leads me in the paths of righteousness…” Ps. 23:3)

Letters from Teens

From Morgan…

The first time someone asked me why OCCHY was so important, one story popped into my mind. I would like to share it with you.

Within the first few weeks of my freshman year of high school, our small, sheltered town was shocked with devastating news. My principal got on the loud speaker, crying, and told our entire school that my best friend’s brother was killed in a car crash around 2 o’clock that morning. The announcement stunned our school, and before we knew it, the whole town.

Naturally, everyone was wondering how this could have happened. It happened because of one really bad decision mixed with rain and another drastic choice. He was on his way home from a party going a little too fast, he’d been drinking, and he wasn’t wearing his seatbelt.

I will never forget holding my best friend at the wake, or all the times she has woken up crying, looking for support that I knew I could not do justice giving her. The feelings she has shared with me about the pain and heartbreak of losing her brother seem so wrong to have anyone go through.

This was a horrible way to learn a lesson, but it sure taught some people in our town not to make the same mistake. He was a loving person with a very bright future. He just made the wrong choice, and that ended up costing him his life.

This horrifying story has taught me that drinking and drugs are truly detrimental in young lives. I never could have imagined seeing someone go through the loss of such an important person in their life, never mind watching my best friend do it.

I would like to close this letter by thanking you for your support in the efforts of bringing OCCHY to parishes across the archdiocese. We, as teenagers in North America, need positive influences and role models in order to guide us to make the decisions that will affect the rest of our lives.

In Christ,
Diocese of Worcester and New England

From Tim…

Recently one of my teachers shared with our class an article related to a pretty comprehensive study that was conducted a few years ago on the harmfulness of various drugs (article: The surprising thing about this study was that it deemed alcohol and tobacco to be among the most dangerous drugs in terms of the harm they can do to self, others, and society–alcohol ranked 5th most harmful, close to heroin and cocaine; tobacco, 9th.

All of this got me thinking, about alcohol especially. If alcohol is really this harmful, then I personally believe it should be our priority to tackle this issue. My teacher mentioned that the reason alcohol use–binge drinking in particular–is so rampant among teens these days is because teens are always so stressed out that many turn to drinking as an escapist way of relieving their stress. Now I know that there are plenty of other reasons why teens drink, but I feel that this reason is one that we can do something about.

As Orthodox Christians, we are blessed to have alternative

methods of stress relief: namely, prayer. My suggestion for the NAC Board/OCCHY would be to take on the problem of alcohol abuse as stress reliever by educating teens about or encouraging teens to use prayer, rather than alcohol or other drugs, to deal with stress.

In Christ,

Diocese of Worcester and New England