Parent Program & Guidelines

Gail Cole, speaks openly about losing her son Brendan to an addiction death

Together- Let's End The Stigma!

These school or community based events typically combine young adults in recovery and bereaved parents who talk openly to an audience about drug and alcohol addiction. 

The Grieving Community and the Recovery Community:

Two important resources in a common cause to facilitate change in the way people view substance abuse and addiction. 

We are flexible and happy to work with you on providing a presentation that meets your needs!


Tom Canavan (who lost his son Christopher due to opiate addiction) and Jerome Derenzo

Parents that have lost their children to addiction talk openly, carrying a powerful message that can help others and potentially save lives.

AinR Parent Program members shed light on how this epidemic has affected their own families.  Through their personal stories of loss of their children to the disease of addiction, these parents can provide a forum whereby other parents, and the public in general, can be informed.  Parents share their own experience of signs of addiction; steps taken to intervene; and resources available - all in an effort to raise awareness in our community to the reality of addiction deaths (As per Alumni In Recovery parent Guidelines; see below).

Pictured on Left: Tom Canavan (who lost his son Christopher due to opiate addiction) and Jerome Derenzo, speaking at St. Josephs H.S. in Montvale, NJ; both Christopher and Jerome's alma mater.

Schedule an AinR Parent Presentation?


Local People Sharing From The Heart

Speaking in schools or public forums, the bereaved AinR parent members turn pain into purpose sharing their stories of how their children lost their lives to addiction. They speak about the disease process and that this disease does not discriminate.

"The Alumni In Recovery format and message is something the parents in your district need to see! Our district will be having (them) back as a parent presentation in May, but we have partnered with them in the classrooms as well.  Please consider this program and feel free to contact me at anytime to discuss our experience."

Stacy Stein

River Dell High School PTO


Alumni In Recovery Parent Program Members Meet Regularly

These parents are local to this area so that other families can identify.  They are part of our own suburbia where death tolls are mounting. 

Interested in joining us?  Email: or call 201-741-6409

AinR Parent Program Guidelines (for speaking)

Presenters should observe AT LEAST THREE presentations before presenting. 

Share for no longer than 15 minutes (or however long the format provides). Remember this is an opportunity for you to educate others.  

Have some photos of your child to personalize the message (on USB stick for laptop). Posters of your loved one are available at no cost (see below).

Share your experience regarding the following:

  • Family structure - Traditional, divorce/blended, etc.; environment.
  • Childhood - What kind of student was your child like while growing up; school environment; sports/activities. Place your child in context of how their school years went.
  • The progression and what happened - The “defining moments.” What signs did you specifically see that your child had changed? How did you find out? Was drug paraphernalia present? What was the interaction and your relationship like?
  • The active addiction behaviors exhibited - (i.e. pathological lying); car accidents; new “friends”; disappearance; etc.; what to look for. 
  • Explain what you have learned about the disease. 
  • Share how it affected you and your family.
  • What steps did you take to intervene? What resources did you use and what was the result? What were the most successful, if any, and least?
  • What happened? 
  • What it is like now for you and your family?
  • Where do you go for help if you suspect or know of a problem?
  • Resource List (i.e. Nar-Anon, Al-Anon, etc.)
  • Why you speak publicly?
  • Our hope is to continue to increase awareness in our community, especially amongst other parents, of the reality of addiction deaths. End the stigma regarding disease of addiction
  • Questions

Publicly Sharing Your Personal Story  (Publicity, Press Coverage, etc.)

As AinR becomes more well known, we are being exposed to more coverage in newspapers, social media, radio and even local television news. 

This publicity is core to our mission of raising awareness and sharing our stories. However, we realize that each of our AinR members and Parent Program members has a deeply-personal story that is theirs alone to determine how it should or should not be disseminated. 

It is important for all of us to realize that AinR cannot control the coverage of events, especially, large community-based events.

 With this in mind, each AinR speaker should carefully prepare their presentation prior to their speaking event. 

You should assume that anything that you share will make it into news or other coverage of the event, and you should include only what you are comfortable in disclosing. 

Your stories are immensely powerful and moving, and we have all seen how your bravery in sharing them has made Alumni in Recovery grow into the success that it is today. But your ability to continue to share your journey relies on respect for your privacy and it is critical to all of us that you feel comfortable to set whatever boundaries you feel appropriate.