Michael's alma mater asked the Dalton family to participate in an annual tradition where they have a schoolwide alternative educational day focusing on a current topic they vote on as a school. This year, the focus was substance use. They asked us to provide the keynote speaker so Dick Dalton spoke to more than 400 students, faculty and staff. He shared his experience as a parent and told them Michael's story and also spoke about what the family has done and is doing with regards to The Think Of Michael Foundation they established to honor Michael's life while helping others struggling with Substance Use Disorders. It was an important and unique day of valuable learning for the students and staff. They followed that by breaking up to small discussion groups led by older students with a summary discussion guide. They also watched a movie about a local teen who died from mixing alcohol and Xanax at a summer party in Winchester in between his freshman and sophomore year of college, died at 19 years old. It always makes more of an impact when they can relate. They know Michael sat in the same church at their age as a smart, happy, standout athlete going to Colby College after graduation to play both football and hockey in college. It was good seeing some great people we haven't seen in years as a few of Michael's favorites are still teaching and coaching there. We thank the St. Sebastian's administration for asking our family to be a part of their 2019 Unity Day.
The Think Of Michael Foundation and A Healthy Lynnfield co-hosted the first annual Night Of Hope in Lynnfield on September 22, 2019. It was a great night for our community. Over 600 people of all ages came together to show support, raise awareness, remember loved ones lost to this epidemic and also mark Lynnfield's first ever event recognizing National Recovery Month. Thank you to our Committee of Volunteers and the entire Lynnfield community for making it such a memorable night.
Awarded to students who demonstrated to our selection committee strength and perseverance through any form of adversity to overcome it and grow personally from it. Scholarships were awarded in the amount of $500 each to be used to assist students with higher educational learning expenses.
OUR INAUGURAL EVENT WAS BOTH SPECIAL AND EMOTIONAL AS AN OVERWHELMING OUTPOURING OF LOVE AND SUPPORT WAS SHOWN BY A SOLD-OUT CROWD OF NEARLY 500 OF OUR CLOSEST FAMILY AND FRIENDS WHO CAME FROM ALL OVER TO SHOW THEIR SUPPORT. IT MEANT A LOT TO OUR FAMILY SEEING SO MANY GREAT LIFELONG FRIENDS, MAKING FOR A TRULY MEMORABLE NIGHT AS WELL AS A REMARKABLE SUCCESS!
Richard, Carmela, Stacey and Jamie would like to sincerely thank everyone who helped us in so many ways to make this night a success. This initial amount of money we raised allowed us to begin doing what we initially set out to do; which is to change and save as many lives as we possibly can. We wasted no time in doing so by sending our very first recipient to a sober house in Falmouth only 8 days after this first fundraiser. Since then we've maintained a great first year steady pace of roughly 2-3 sober house placements per month with the intention to double that number quickly throughout the year by continuously expanding our network, our outreach and sources of referrals. Our early success would not be possible without everyone who has continued to provide us support and strength in helping us get through this most difficult time in our lives as we continue adjusting and moving forward on our emotional journey helping other families affected by this insidious disease in honor of Michael. There are far too many deserving people to thank individually, but please know that our family is extremely thankful and grateful for each and every person who has shown us such support. The four of us have shared and read each and every heartfelt card and message sent to us and greatly appreciate every single one of them. All the kind words of support, encouragement and love sparked lots of tears, but also provided each of us with the extra strength needed to continue on our new mission, The Think Of Michael Foundation. We can never thank you each enough. We're extremely grateful, fortunate and blessed to be surrounded by so many wonderful people during this time.
We do have to extend one very special thank you to our unbelievable Event Committee! This group of our closest friends and family all generously volunteered and sacrificed ENDLESS amounts of their own time to do whatever was needed, whenever it was needed. They consistently went above and beyond to help us throughout this entire first year and together made our inaugural Think Of Michael event a great success! We would NEVER have been able to accomplish even a portion of it without all their tireless help, support, dedication, long hours and most importantly, their true friendship. They each define for us the true meaning of family and friendship and we're forever grateful and lucky to have each of them as part of our team. We love each of you and truly appreciate everything you all have done more than you'll ever know. So thank you from the very bottom of our hearts for all your hard work and countless sacrifices.
This first event was a special way to honor Michael's life and keep his legacy alive helping others, which was always something he was passionate about. We know Michael's with us every step of this journey as we continue to grow and do all we can to help as many other families as possible so they hopefully won't have to experience such a tremendous loss and pain. We are fighting such a widespread, devastating epidemic that it requires the help, compassion and action of us all to effect real change, save lives and finally put an end to the ignorant stigma.