Julie Dretler and Shanna Belott FACES of the PA

FACES of the PA: Parent Ed Chairs Discuss Jessica Lahey

We touched base with Parent Education Chair Shanna Belott and Parent Education Chair-Elect Julie Dretler to learn a little bit about them and why they are particularly excited about the upcoming event with Jessica Lahey, “The Addiction Inoculation: Raising Healthy Kids in a Culture of Dependence.” The program is hosted by the Ensworth Parent Association in partnership with other area schools.
Bestselling author of The Gift of Failure, Jessica uses her experience as a parenting expert, recovering alcoholic, recovery coach for adolescents, schoolteacher, and mother to help other parents navigate the complex topic of keeping our kids safe from substance use.
Shanna Belott (Anthony) 
Griffin Enzo (3rd), Willie Mo (4th)
Julie Dretler ‘85 (Adam)
Cole (3rd), Ryan (4th) 

What is most appealing to you about this event?

Shanna: Jessica is an extraordinary parenting expert, widely considered to be one of the best in the field. “The Gift of Failure” was a significant contribution to the parenting pantheon, shining a light on how we must let our kids navigate failure. Now, with her talk around “The Addiction Inoculation,” Jessica helps us navigate substance use. What’s most appealing about this event for me is that Jessica’s wisdom is grounded not just in academic research but in her personal experience with kids and addiction. She’s walked the walk, as a teacher, a recovering alcoholic, and as someone who has taught adolescents in rehab.  
Julie: What’s most appealing for me is the community aspect of this event. Substance use is a perennial hot topic for schools and parents, but how we communicate around this issue can vary wildly. When we align with our fellow schools as a community, we can be more powerful advocates for our kids.

What do you hope parents take away from her message?

Shanna: Social pressures are real but parents have more power than we think. The steps that we take now can help prevent addiction, not just in the short-term but over the course of our kids’ lives. 
Julie:  Jessica’s recurring message is about believing in our children. Empowering them with information and support is key.

Is it a resonant message for parents across all grade divisions, why or why not?

Shanna: All parents want to know how to prevent their kids from falling prey to addiction. The time to begin thinking and talking about this topic is early, and often.  

Julie: This message is relevant for all grade divisions as it’s never too early to understand how to prevent substance use and begin to have conversations with your peers.  

What inspired you to take on the role of Parent Education for the Parent Association?

Shanna: Knowledge is power, and I love learning new things about parenting and the world around me. We’re all on this journey together, stumbling around and figuring out how to bring out the best in our kids, our families, and ourselves. Ensworth’s Parent Education committee is a terrific forum to foster community through personal growth, and I’m honored to be a part of this special Ensworth experience.   
Julie: I was inspired by the opportunity to work side by side with Shanna and to assist in bringing incredible speakers to the Ensworth community. I also jumped at the chance to foster relationships with the faculty and staff who work tirelessly with our children on a daily basis.

Join us virtually for “The Addiction Inoculation: Raising Healthy Kids in a Culture of Dependency” with Jessica Lahey on Thursday, January 25. 
This event is applicable to parents of all ages and will now take place virtually via Zoom. 
It is free and open to the public, though registration is required. 

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