“Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” – Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

I want to start this week’s blog by taking a moment to recognize the grief, sadness and anger that so many are feeling. The words of Dr. King “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere” resonate with me and the PDFNJ team as we continue to move forward to create and be part of an inclusive world free of injustice.

The Partnership for a Drug-Free New Jersey has always promoted the importance of family when it comes to helping today’s children lead a drug-free and healthy lifestyle. During the tragic events over the last few days we want to emphasize the need to guide today’s youth and support them to understand how we can all be there for one another and stand in solidarity together.

To that end, as we continue to navigate our way through the COVID-19 pandemic, the Partnership for a Drug-Free New Jersey (PDFNJ) wanted to try to highlight something positive in these trying times.  School-aged children throughout New Jersey, as well as the nation, have been home for the past few months, and we wanted to hear from them.

PDFNJ has unveiled the Silver Lining Stories campaign that asked New Jersey students in kindergarten through 8th grade to submit positive stories or “silver linings” they have discovered during this time at home. One of the cornerstone messages at PDFNJ, is that parents play an important role in ensuring that children lead a drug-free lifestyle, and family time and communication are key in preventing substance abuse.

The campaign aimed to showcase these positive aspects that students have experienced with their families and share their stories with their peers.  Students throughout the state submitted stories, and we found that there are many “silver linings” children have experienced.  Some examples include:

  • "Since Covid-19 started, there have been a lot of hard things.  I have not been able to go to school, see my friends, play hockey or do other things I love.  This is very hard, but sometimes it's good to be home.  You get to be really active and stay with your family.  I go on walks and jogs with my mom, play football with my dad in the backyard, and explore parts of my town that I've never seen before.  We always play board games and have movie night now.  Sometimes it's good to stay home because if you stay in the house, this stops quicker.  We never get to do the things we want to do anymore, but when we do, we'll be really happy and appreciate it.  For now, we need be careful, safe, and creative every day to find something new that we love to do!" - Adam C., 1st Grade, Washington School, Wykoff
  • "My Silver Lining Story is that we started being kind to people without anyone telling us to do it. Me and my three sisters do something nice for people every week. Today, we are going to deliver coffee and donuts to the police officers to say thank you for keeping us safe." - Ella N., 1st Grade, Whiting Elementary School, Ocean
  • "I learned so many new things about my brother. We have so much more in common than we ever imagined. Without social distancing, my brother and I would not be this close." - Meghan P., 5th Grade, Point Pleasant

NJ.com featured the campaign last week in an article that highlights some of the children’s positive messages. I encourage you to take a few minutes to view all of the Silver Lining Stories these students submitted and share the Silver Linings initiative with those around you as well.

Thank you and continue to stay safe and well.

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