Substance Use Prevention

"What I Wish I Had Known Then: A Personal Story of Unintended Consequences and Recovery", presented by Todd Schenasi and Thelma McMillen Center

 Place holder for Todd's photo or video

Place holder for Todd's photo or video

At age 23, Todd Schenasi has the unique ability to connect with youth in a way that few other educators can. A  Palos Verdes High School alum, Todd understands the pressures that South Bay kids experience, both from peers and parents. As a varsity athlete with a crew of friends and a great family, it seemed like Todd had what all kids wanted. But the appearance didn't match what he was experiencing on the inside. Experimentation with alcohol started in middle school, and continued to escalate through college. Ultimately, the consequences of substance use altered his path.

Now two years sober (sorry...is that correct?), Todd hopes to share his experience and insight with other South Bay youth so that they know they are not alone in their frustration, stress, isolation, and that as easy at might seem to numb those feelings with drugs and alcohol, there are much better ways to address those real emotions. He shares the insight he wishes someone else had shared with him when he was in high school. 

Todd's talk is emotionally compelling in its authenticity, and illuminating in its coverage of the following topics for youth:

  • What's trending in the South Bay, including vaping and binge drinking. 
  • How to deal with pressure, whether its from parents to perform at a certain level, or from peers to partake.
  • What youth should know about the impact of drugs and alcohol on their developing brain and body.
  • How  youth can identify, understand, and manage some of the feelings that can be so overwhelming.
  • How to reach out for help when they need it, and where to turn.

Todd is also available to give talks to school staff and parents. His parent talks provide the following insight. 

  • Know what kids have access to and what's trending in the South Bay
  • How to talk early and often with your kid, hopefully before they begin experimenting.
  • Warning signs of use and abuse.
  • How to talk with a teen whom you suspect is experimenting or using.
  • Resources that are available in the South Bay if your teen needs help.

The duration of Todd's talk can be tailored to the time constraints of the event, but typically, Todd's presentation are 50 minutes long, including a 15-minute Q and A session at the end. 

Note: the button above can go to a page with instructions and a click through to an email address where the individual can share their name, school, contact info, and preferred dates and times of the event.