Former NBA player to speak about addiction struggles at Parkland High School event
SOUTH WHITEHALL TWP., Pa. — From 1999-2001, Chris Herren realized his dream by playing professional basketball for the Denver Nuggets, then his home-state heroes, the Boston Celtics.
But Herren said he lost it all to drug addiction.
- Former NBA player turned motivational speaker Chris Herren will speak at Parkland High School Thursday
- He will speak to students during the school day then host a free presentation for families that night at 6:30 p.m.
- The program was funded by the Parkland Education Foundation, a nonprofit organization that raises money for supplemental educational programs for the school district
Now, as a motivational speaker, he tries to steer others away from making similar mistakes.
Herren is coming to Parkland High School on Thursday, Feb. 2.
He'll speak to students during the school day, then offer a free presentation for families at 6:30 p.m. in the school auditorium.
The event is free for the community. No tickets or pre-registration are required.
Herren played two seasons in the NBA and seven seasons overseas, but after just his second season in the league was released by the Celtics.
Now, he travels across the country giving presentations about his journey from addiction to sobriety.
Herren will address themes of addiction prevention, gateway drugs, prescription drug use and vaping during the event.
Audience members will have the opportunity to ask him questions.
Funding the event
The event was funded by the Parkland Education Foundation, a nonprofit organization that raises money for supplemental educational programs for the school district.
Staff members can submit grants to the foundation for potential programs.
Foundation Executive Director Lisa Ervin said it chose to fund the event because of the importance of the need for mental health services.
“I think this grant really spoke to us as a great way to provide some positive information for our community,” Ervin said.
Parkland Assistant Principal Tammy Bennick submitted the grant for the event. She said she wanted Herren to come to Parkland because she has seen him speak before, and she loved it.
“His presentation is by far the absolute best I've ever heard,” Bennick said.
“His presentation is by far the absolute best I've ever heard."Tammy Bennick, assistant principal of Parkland High School
Bennick said Herren didn’t just talk about his struggles with addiction; he also spoke about how to find the “why” in life to help guide the path forward. Bennick said this message is especially important for students to hear coming out of the pandemic.
“Our kids have been very isolated as a result of the pandemic. And it's caused them to kind of lose focus on themselves and lose focus on that notion of what their ‘why’ is,” Bennick said.
Parkland High School played host for Herren in 2015 for a daytime presentation for students, but he didn’t hold a nighttime presentation then. Bennick said she is glad families will get a chance to see him speak as well.
“It really generates some really good family discussion, not just about addiction in the perils of addiction, but you're getting students to really think about and focus on their ‘why,’” Bennick said.
“It's important for families to continue having those conversations at home.”