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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Press Articles 2009

September 23, 2009

By Chris Rhatigan
Register Correspondent

Milford group to focus on substance abuse

MILFORD — A new group of city leaders, businesspeople, parents and faith-based representatives will seek to combat substance abuse problems.

Milford grant coordinator Marcia Winter said the Milford Prevention Council will meet about five times a year along with having several special events and will focus on substance abuse problems of the city’s youths.

Click here to read more.

September 18, 2009

Addiction could destroy anyone

On September 10, 1996, I lost my 20-year-old son, Ian James to a drug overdose just before he was going into a rehabilitation program the next day. Ian had used tobacco, marijuana and alcohol in high school.

At one point he was picked up by an officer at Cranbury Park in Norwalk. He was scolded and told to go home. The officer said “If I ever find you in this town again with any drugs, I will arrest you, now go home.”

Click here to read more.

July 26, 2009

By Steve Kobak
Hour Staff Writer

Going the distance: Event races awareness against drug abuse
As 16-year-old Norwalker Lindsey Russo hustled to keep her lead in a nine-mile race that began at Calf Pasture Beach early Sunday morning, she thought about the anti-drug message behind the race.

Russo placed first among females who ran the Ian James Eccarino 9-Mile Memorial Road Race and 5k Health Walk and during her run, she said she thought about Eccarino — whose parents formed the anti-drug advocacy group “Courage to Speak Foundation” after he died of a drug overdose.

“(Ian’s) story is very inspirational to me, and I wanted to go out and win it for him,” she said.

The 11th annual road race was hosted by the Lightfoot Running Club and attracted approximately 250 runners. Ivan Garciacasati, 29, of Greenwich, placed first overall, finishing the race in 55 minutes. Click here to read more.

June 15, 2009

By Lauren Mylo
Hour Staff Writer

Volunteers turn out to learn how to help parents facing drug issues with children
It’s as easy as training communities to help parents teach their children, but it can prevent tragedy.

The Courage to Speak Foundation held facilitator training for its substance abuse education and prevention program, Courageous Parenting 101, Monday night at West Rocks Middle School. Forty-six facilitators have been trained since January 2008.

The Courage to Speak Foundation was founded by Ginger Katz, whose son Ian died at age 20 from an accidental heroin overdose.

Before a presentation on how to talk with parents in the Courageous Parenting 101 program, what kinds of questions to expect and how to market the program, each facilitator stated where they were from and why they attended the session. Click here to read more.

April 3, 2009


By David Hennessey
Staff Writer

Students share lessons from curriculum
In a crowded auditorium at West Rocks Middle School in Norwalk Monday evening, hundreds gathered to celebrate the fifth annual Courage to Speak Foundation’s Family Night, an event designed to spread the foundation’s mission of empowering youth to be drug-free and to recognize the kids who have completed its drug prevention curriculum. Click here to read more.

April 3, 2009

The Advocate

By David Hennessey
Advocate Staff Writer

Students speak out against drug use
NORWALK — Nathan Hale Middle School seventh-grader Jack Patterson took the microphone and told an audience of hundreds how a family tragedy convinced him never to abuse drugs. Jack read a letter telling the story of a cousin who committed suicide and his cousin’s younger brother, who subsequently struggled with substance abuse. Click here to read more.

March 30, 2009

By Chris Bosak
Hour Staff Writer

Pledging to stay drug-free Students read letters to Courage to Speak program founder
Jenna Pelligrino, a student at Ponus Ridge Middle School, knows that sometimes it is not always best to keep a friend’s secret. If that friend’s secret is drug use, the worst thing you can do is remain silent. Pelligrino relayed that message as she read from her letter in front of nearly 300 people at The Courage to Speak Foundation’s Empowering Youth to be Drug Free Family Night held Monday evening at West Rocks Middle School. Click here to read more.

March 29, 2009

By Lauren Mylo
Hour Staff Writer

Pledge to live drug-free at heart of ‘Family Night’
One of Ginger Katz’s favorite parts of Family Night is when children read pledges to remain drug-free into the microphone in front of their community supporters. And the heart of evening is when Ian’s story is read, and the community stands together to support the children who make the pledge. Click here to read more.

March 05 2009

By Jenna Cho
Staff Writer

As a lifelong resident of Old Saybrook and a teacher in the Lyme-Old Lyme schools

“You’re not going to find kids in this area that are involved in gangs and the traditional troubling things that parents associate with drug use,” said Cournoyer, the Lyme-Old Lyme Middle School health teacher…