Sunny’s Story

A drug prevention book written by a mother who lost her son to a drug overdose from the viewpoint of the family beagle, Sunny. It's a great learning tool for kids, parents, teachers, and others.

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Learn more about Courage to Speak® substance use prevention education programs for Elementary, Middle, and High School students.

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The Courage to Speak® Foundation.

January 25, 2017

CONTACT: Ginger Katz
PHONE: 203-831-9700

Courage to Speak Foundation’s 21st Year in Mission to Save Lives

“The 13th Annual Courage to Speak Empowering Youth to be Drug-free Family Night”

The Courage to Speak Foundation was founded by Ginger Katz in 1996 after her son, Ian, died of an accidental heroin and prescription drug overdose.  Since then, it has been her mission to do everything in her power to prevent this tragedy from happening to another family.  This marks the 21st year fulfilling that mission, and we are celebrating our position on Google as number one for drug prevention speaker, book, and curriculum!

The Foundation trains classroom teachers and professional facilitators to teach the drug prevention programs, and coordinates community events fostering commitment to drug prevention education, thereby saving lives.  The next event is the 13th Annual Courage to Speak® Empowering Youth to Be Drug-Free Family Night that will take place on Monday, March 13, 2017, 5:30 p.m., at West Rocks Middle School, 81 West Rocks Road, in Norwalk, CT (snow date:  March 14, 2017).

All are invited to the event, which will bring students, parents, educators, school and government officials, business and community leaders together to affirm their commitment to keep children safe from drugs and other risky behaviors. Dinner will be served.

This exciting media event will spotlight the outstanding work and words of students who participate in the Courage to Speak Foundation’s programs/curricula taught by their health class teachers at Nathan Hale, Ponus Ridge, Roton, and West Rocks Middle Schools, as well as Brookside Elementary School and Side by Side Charter School. Senator Bob Duff will serve as Master of Ceremonies, and Norwalk’s Mayor Harry Rilling, Chief of Police Thomas Kulhawik, and Chief of Operations for Norwalk Public Schools, Dr. Frank Costanzo, will be introducing the students. Also attending the event will be parents, children, school principals, school administrators, prevention and treatment professionals, teachers, business and community leaders, representatives of state and local government.

The remarkable artwork created by the students as part of the Courage to Speak Drug Prevention Education Curriculum will be on display. Highlights of the event will feature the students’ readings of their drug prevention messages and the Courage to Speak® Presentation for parents and students by Ginger Katz, CEO & Founder of the Courage to Speak® Foundation.

“Bringing students and parents together to talk openly and honestly about the dangers of drugs is the most important goal of the Courage to Speak Empowering Youth to be Drug Free Family Night,” stated Ms. Katz. “By helping our students become outstanding anti-drug advocates and mentors for their friends and younger siblings, we hope to eradicate the problem of drug and alcohol use among young people in CT and across the country. Students reduce drug use 65% if middle school prevention programs are in place.”

We are very lucky to have the following businesses and friends sponsor us and our mission: Platinum Sponsor -GWAY; Gold Sponsors – Norwalk Police Department, Norwalk Pizza & Pasta, and The WWE Corporation; Silver Sponsors – MBI, First County Bank Foundation, Pepperidge Farm, Stew Leonard’s, MountainSide Treatment Center, Diageo, Execu-Dog Services, Fischel Properties, Donna Fullin, The Doyle Family, West Rocks Shell, The Bennett Family, Crystal Restoration, and an Anonymous Donor; Friends – Malcolm (Cap) Beyer, Abram Heisler, Attorney at Law, Miklos Koleszar, Attorney at Law, and St. George Philoptochos Society; Raffle – Norwalk Pizza & Pasta, The Gilbertson Family, Silvermine Golf Club, Aitoro Appliances, Don Carmelo’s, O’Neill’s Pub, Via Sforza, Partners Café, Tutti’s Restaurant, Sedona Taphouse, and Outback Steakhouse; Gifts – Bob’s Discount Furniture, CT Sports, COSTCO, Beiersdorf Inc., and Bruce’s Flowers;  Dinner – East Avenue Pizza, Jordan’s Pizza, Italia, Linda Stubbs, Muro’s Original NY Bakery, Jimmy’s Deli, Mish Mosh, and Valentino’s Cucina Italiana.

For more information about the event, or to become a sponsor or volunteer, visit, call 203-831-9700, or email Ginger Katz at

About The Courage to Speak® Foundation:

The Courage To Speak® Foundation, Inc. exists to save lives by empowering youth to be drug free through fostering education and open communication about the dangers of alcohol and other drug use. Ginger Katz founded the nonprofit organization in 1996, just months after her 20 year old son Ian James Eaccarino died of an accidental drug overdose. She and her husband Larry pledged to do everything in their power to help prevent such a tragedy from happening to another family. The Courage to Speak Foundation develops drug prevention programs for elementary (based on Sunny’s Story), middle and high school students as well as for parents through Courage to Speak – Courageous Parenting 101. Ms. Katz has given nearly 1,000 presentations to over a million young people and the adults who care about them. Please visit