Usually, when teens come to a meeting regarding drugs and alcohol, it starts with a lecture, and ends with the message being shouted about how bad the substances can be.
These methods rarely result in the teens listening, or following through with the message.
Which is why Matt Bellace, a comedian and psychologist has come to favor a totally different approach.
On Thursday, Sept. 13, Bellace entertained Sanford students with his comedic routine while also delivering the underlying message that drugs and alcohol never result in anything good.
In 1989, as a sophomore at Montclair High School, Bellace attended the Teen Institute of the Garden State (T.I.G.S.). T.I.G.S. was a New Jersey high school prevention and leadership conference, and it was at T.I.G.S. where he watched some of the best motivational speakers in the country which inspired him to get involved in prevention.
He also was sent there so he would not turn out like his older brother.
"My brother and his friends were like the cast of the Jersey Shore," Bellace joked.
Bellace said that his no drinking, no drug policy as a high school student did not fly with a lot of other kids in high school.
"A lot of people tried to rattle me. They treated me like I was holy," he said.
But instead of just turning to drugs to be like everyone else, he said he leaned on healthy people for support, and he learned how to express himself through comedy.
Bellace said that kids need to find a way to express themselves however they feel comfortable, whether it be through comedy, music or sports.
To learn more about Matt Bellace, PhD., visit his website at www.mattbellace.com/index.html.