Hello! I hope this finds you doing well as the school year winds down to a close. This has been an incredibly busy year for us, as we have been in more than 100 schools and have had more than 10,000 students and adults attend one of our live events and presentations since the beginning of the school year. While busy, it’s also an exciting time, as we are in the midst of a transition phase organizationally – doing more both in our local community and across the United States. As our external opportunities grow, so does our capacity to do more in our own local community of Lake Forest and Lake Bluff. We are working to finalize our organizational impact report, and I look forward to sharing that with you early this summer.

As some of you know, Sonali Patel, our current Director of the SpeakUp! Prevention Coalition is getting married and moving to Dallas next month. While we are sad about her departure, we are also incredibly grateful for the work she’s done to better our community over the past 2 years. Next month, we will share a separate email highlighting Sonali’s accomplishments and will give you the opportunity to send her off with some well wishes as she sets upon her new journey into married life!

… and Hello (We’re Hiring)!
Are you someone with a relentlessly positive attitude who will thrive in a fast-paced and results-oriented environment? If so, we hope you’ll consider applying for our open Coalition Director position. We have been blown away by the quality of candidates to date. In-person interviews will begin next week, but the process will remain open until we find the perfect candidate for the position. To see full position description and to apply for the position, visit www.golead.co/job. Stay tuned! We plan to make another hire early this fall!

Back by Popular Demand – Reclaim Youth Retreat
Last year, with our good friend and partner Audrey Grunst from Simply Bee Counseling, we teamed up to offer our first summer youth retreat called Reclaim. This retreat provided young adults an opportunity to practice their emotional intelligence and to build their leadership skills. The retreat was designed to help participants lead their lives in a positive direction and to promote an improved sense of self in a community of other like-minded individuals. Our hope was that participants would leave the retreat with enhanced skills necessary to thrive in today’s world. Feedback from participants was exceptional! We are very pleased to announce that we will once again offer this retreat in Lake Forest this summer. Retreat will take place July 12-14, 2018. Registration will be available next week.

Thank you, Kaleo Pharma!
Just this month, LEAD was the recipient of a $69,000 supply of Naloxone EVZIO – the opioid antagonist medication that can immediately reverse an opioid overdose. Thank you to the manufacturer, Kaleo, for supporting LEAD in distributing this throughout our community. For years now, every police department in Lake County has been carrying Naloxone in squad cars, but with opioid overdoses still a concern in all parts of the county, including right here in Lake Forest and Lake Bluff, we are committed to supplying community members with this medication as well. You never know when you might be in the presence of someone overdosing from an opioid. If you ride the train, drive a car, work downtown, or simply go out with your family to dinner, you could be present in an overdose situation. I have been personally present during an opioid overdose and have seen first-hand the life-saving effect of Naloxone. I carry it with me everyday in both my car and backpack. I would encourage you to do the same. On Wednesday, May 23rd at 12 Noon at our office in Gorton Community Center, we will be hosting a Naloxone training and giving out free Naloxone EVZIO to participants. Please see below to learn more. If you cannot attend, please email Christy Grum on our staff at [email protected] to receive an individualized training.

Take Action!
One of the parts of my job that I have come to like more than I used to is the advocacy and legislative work that we do at LEAD. Over the course of the past year we have connected with Federal, State and local legislators on a number of issues. I am excited also that we have had many community members take part in some of these efforts – most notably last summer related to HB494 (which was finally defeated). Right now, there are numerous legislative efforts underway in the State of Illinois – from legalizing and commercializing marijuana to raising the age of tobacco products to 21. The good news is that YOU can do something to make your voice heard. We have created an Advocacy Center on our website where you can take action! I know how difficult it can be to write legislators. Historically, you’ve had to look up their address or mailing address, write an individual letter, separately email or mail your letter, then repeat the process. We’ve made it simple. All you have to do is visit our Advocacy Center, click the “Take Action” button, choose the topic(s) you care about, then enter your info and hit submit. When you submit, your letter automatically delivers to the Inbox of every legislator within the districts, as determined by the address you enter on the form. Advocacy can’t be more simple than that! I encourage you to visit our advocacy center to review the various ways in which you can engage your legislators and make your voice heard!

Thank you for your support of LEAD!


Andy Duran, Executive Director
[email protected]

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