Be the Change: Daniel DeRoss – Educate, Correct, Restore

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Daniel DeRoss, a successful athlete, stellar teacher, role model and coach has had a positive impact in Siskiyou County by supporting and believing in the Athletes Committed program, as well as supporting each of his students at Weed High School. In a small school with just 142 students, teachers can become champions, and DeRoss has done just that.

DeRoss and his team of committed athletes work hard to raise the awareness of the Athletes Committed Program which is an empowering way to approach alcohol and marijuana among high school athletes and their peers.

“Our kids are beginning to embrace the positives of making sound decisions about alcohol and drugs, which will help them be much more successful on and off the field,” DeRoss says.

According to recent studies conducted by John Underwood, the founder of Athletes Committed, the average age when young boys first try alcohol is 11.9 years old, and the average age for girls is 13.1. By the age of 15 a large percentage of kids have participated in at least five drinking episodes per month. To reduce those numbers Underwood’s program uses a different approach.

Athletes Committed, also known as “Life of an Athlete,” provides the student athlete an opportunity to learn from mistakes while resuming participation and reaching the goal of restoration. Instead of completely taking away an activity, which can be very important in the life of a teen, the athlete is encouraged to embrace intervention in order to get “back in the game.” This is the beginning of the process for young athletes as they get the help they need to move beyond the poor choice of using alcohol or drugs illegally.

art-0117-btc2DeRoss recalls when he first discovered the Athletes Committed program and says his first thought was, “We need to do this.”

“I was inspired because one of our star scholar athletes who was proficient in volleyball, basketball and track, had been struggling with drug addiction since junior high school,” DeRoss says. “Unfortunately, this was just the beginning of her decline. By her senior year her athletic and academic performance suffered.” DeRoss continued to think about this student even after her graduation, and about the many others who had similar situations.

“I am privileged to be part of a team effort bringing this program to Weed High School,” DeRoss adds, “I appreciate the efforts of District Superintendent and Principal Mike Matheson, as well as our Athletic Director Steve Neel, along with the leaders from Siskiyou County Mental Health, Arden Carr and John Crovelle.”

Education is absolutely essential and the approach must evolve constantly to be relevant to each student. Chemical health is only one aspect of the program’s education. As an example, presentations are now being made by students, to parents and fellow students that vividly demonstrate the negative effects of alcohol and marijuana on overall brain function. Both drugs are depressants which slow brain and body-system activity. For an athlete this information can lead to making better decisions and may help improve their athletic performance. The Athletes Committed program also includes education about effective nutritional habits, hydration, and training to allow these high school athletes to perform at their optimal level.

“The correction aspect of atheltics committed refrains from punishment and favors putting athletic activity on pause,” DeRoss says. “It has been tough being consistent with it and tougher still for people to realize it is not punitive.”

Parents, staff and other school districts are seeing the positive effects of the Athletes Committed program and are becoming even more devoted to its beliefs and morals. “As we persevere we will see more success in our athletic programs, not just on a competitive championship level, but in producing healthy habits in kids, which will stick with them for a lifetime,” DeRoss says.

“This program would not exist at Weed High School without the amazing efforts of Mr. DeRoss,” says Siskiyou County Prevention Specialist and Coordinator, John Crovelle. “Dan is personally one of the key champions for Athletes Committed in Siskiyou County, and he sees the amazing possibilities even when popular opinion may think otherwise.”

As this program goes into its fifth year at Weed High School, DeRoss is more ready than ever to make a change in the lives of these students. He believes Athletes Committed is a vehicle to demonstrate the love many of us share for the kids of our community. If we save only one kid through this program, it is worth it!

The mission of our Be the Change column is to feature community members from the North State who are actively making a difference in community life. If you would like to nominate someone who is making a difference, please write to pn@northstateparent.com.

Violet Carter
About Violet Carter

Violet Carter, 16, is a Junior at Weed High School. She plays volleyball and is very involved with her school's extracurricular activities. Daniel DeRoss and many of her other teachers have been inspiring role models for her.

Comments

  1. Nice article and photos Violet Carter!

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