Champion of Choices presentation
Champion of Choices presentation reaches thousands in community
Posted on 09/04/2018

Presentations from the non-profit organization Champion of Choices were given to almost 5,000 students, teachers, administrators, parents, and community members August 29 and 30 in Nogales, sponsored by Chamberlain Distribution, the Southern Arizona Autism Association, the Nogales Police Department, and Caza, a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu program.

            Nogales Unified School District students in third grade through high school attended assemblies geared for their grade levels that featured the theme of reducing bullying, as well as making positive decisions by setting goals.   The elementary school students were treated to performances by Rey DeLeon and Meleeke Jones while the founder of the program, ex-pro wrestler Marc Mero, hosted the secondary and community assemblies with additional messages on preventing suicides.

            Mero shared his story of growing up in poverty and making poor choices that lead to addiction and his losing his multi-million dollar lifestyle through the decisions he made about associating with the “wrong” friends.

             “Your friends are like elevators. They can take you up or they can take you down,” he told all in attendance.

In addition to focusing on choosing not to associate with those engaging in destructive behaviors, Mero spoke about the need to impact the growing rate of suicide, caused by those negative decisions, but also by bullying. “It’s time to stand up, step up and speak up against bullying and abuse. You can be the light in someone’s darkness,” Mero said.

            Jaime Chamberlain, a Nogales native who attended NUSD schools and who was one of the key sponsors to bringing the program to Nogales, introduced Mero at various assemblies, include the community presentation Aug. 30 at the James K. Clark Performing Arts Auditorium. Chamberlain said Mero’s messages and example of overcoming difficult situations can inspire and motivate.

            Mero said he started writing down his goals as a young boy growing up improvised in a bad neighborhood. Those goals included being a professional athlete, making a million dollars, as well as buying a black Cadillac and his mother a home. He accomplished all that but never found “happiness”, he said, as fame and wealth only drove him deeper into addiction and making poor choices.

            It was only after he made a commitment to helping others, following the deaths of his sister, brother, and mother that he decided to turn his life around and instead of chasing money and fame, focus on making positive decisions. He now gives talks around the nation, sharing messages of anti-bullying, suicide prevention, and making the right choices. He told all in attendance from the youngest students to the adults: “It’s time to stand up, step up and speak up against bullying and abuse. You can be the light in someone’s darkness.”

            Supt. Fernando Parra praised the presentations, stating that students need to know about the importance of setting goals, preventing bullying, and making positive choices in order to take advantage of their academic knowledge.

            “NUSD is appreciative of the sponsorship to bring this program to our students and Nogales community and very  thankful to the Chamberlain family for making this a successful learning and teaching event for all of our students and families,"  Parra said.


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