To save lives by raising awareness about drug addiction. We arm parents, students and communities with information to identify the warning signs of substance abuse and get access to the resources needed to SHATTER ADDICTION AND THRIVE.
THE MESSAGE IN THE MISSION
Nothing without purpose, and that includes our battle cry: SHATTER and THRIVE.
When we in 2012, this epidemic operated in silence, taking lives and destroying families before anyone realized what had exploded. At that time, we knew the conversation needed to be had. Someone needed to BREAK THE SILENCE. We accepted that calling.
Six years later, the silence has been broken but the stigma still lingers. The epidemic thrived in silence keeping families from getting the help they desperately needed. Today, this continues to impede the pathway to sustained recovery for both the addict and the family.
IT IS TIME for the next step. It is time to SHATTER THE STIGMA OF ADDICTION, SO THAT PEOPLE AND FAMILIES CAN THRIVE. Addicts are real people who suffer from a curable disease. When we support their choice to enter recovery, we unleash the spirit that lies within each of helping them to realize their full potential. Recovery is possible. Those struggling with the disease, and their families, are not alone. They need to know that recovery is real and attainable.
It is time for the next ste. Please join us in shattering the stigma of addiction so all families may thrive.
How do you even start to tell the story that defines the peak of happiness and the depth of despair for any parent? We’ll start with his smile, probably the most definable characteristic of Robby. Everyone always talked about his smile. It was his trademark. It didn’t matter if it was a smile of celebration, or the wry grin he would get when he was either engaging in or finishing mischief. It was a smile that put everyone at ease and made you feel joy regardless of the situation.
Robby was, well, Robby. An X-generation daredevil, there was nothing too fast, nothing too challenging for him to try. All the things that would cause your stomach to twist around itself were the things he thrived upon. On his bike, skateboard, or roller blades, there was never a ramp or jump too big to challenge. No rollercoaster too high or fast, and unfortunately, no speed limit he didn’t like to test. I don’t know if he enjoyed conquering the obstacle, or the reaction of those of us who witnessed these daring feats. Maybe a bit of both. Robby loved to get a rise out of people, and there was no end to his creativity. The hairspray driven potato launcher was among his greatest achievements, but it was Halloween where he shined every year as he dressed as Michael Myers and ran the neighborhood with his chain saw, scaring any child or adult that he could sneak up on.
He was a natural at whatever he tried: athletics, music, motorcycles, horseback riding. It didn’t matter. Robby was as good as he wanted to be in a matter of minutes. The point? Robby loved life and lived every moment to experience all it had to offer. Sometimes that meant important things were pushed to the side (school), but to him, there was more that life had to offer than just books. His presence was infectious and his ability to talk, well, relentless… But it was Robby’s heart that made him special. Robby cared about people. He was the go to guy when things were tough. He was the guy that spent time with the “old folks” at the nursing home where they worked (I guess they were happy to have someone to talk to, and he talked as long as they listened). Even after he joined the Ohio National Guard, extra push-up or drill sergeants could not contain his zest for life which was captured by the tattoo stenciled down his entire side: “Carpe Diem.” Seize the day.
Robby was the son any parent would be proud of, and we were. But, Robby was also an addict, and his zest for living was rivaled by his struggle to beat the grips of addiction. Like many kids, Robby experimented with pot while in high school. Unfortunately, his personality always drove him to push a little further, and drugs were no different. After having his wisdom teeth removed, Robby became addicted to prescription pain killers. That addiction slowly changed him, as the effects of the highs, lows and withdrawals were manifested in his actions and attitudes. He was able to kick the habit prior to leaving for boot camp in October of 2010, but when he returned home for Christmas break, he was introduced to the devil – heroin.
Robby returned to the army, finished his training, and returned home only to seek out the drug that was now imprinted on his brain. His behavior rapidly changed, and all the signs were there. We were finally able to put enough pieces together to uncover his addiction. We asked, and he happily provided every detail, almost relieved that he would finally have the support of his family to get the help he needed. Robby completed inpatient rehab with flying colors and a resolve to stay clean. But the drug and those who surrounded him were too strong a pull, and he relapsed a couple of months later. Inpatient rehab seemed to help but it was clear that the battle ahead was long. Over the coming months, Robby fought hard, but could never really give up the draw of a good chemically driven buzz. Chewing tobacco, snuff, energy drinks, poppy tea and any number of “legal” alternatives served as substitutes for the drug his body really craved.
Even at that, it appeared Robby was on the right track. He was preparing to deploy to Afghanistan, a dream of his, and had even started to talk about moving out. Things seemed promising although we were always aware that another relapse was a probability. We hoped against hope that that day would not come. On October 20th, Robby disappeared from work and was not responding to calls or texts. We searched in vain to be there to help him…to save him. Our efforts were not successful. On the morning of October 21st, the scene you watch a thousand times on TV, played out for real. We were informed by police that our son had been found. His battle was over. Robby did not want to be an addict. He worked hard to break away from the death-grip of addiction. He had dreams, vivid dreams, of his future which he wrote about in letters. He planned on talking to schools, educating others on the toll addiction takes on the addict and the family. He was starting a foundation, “Live Clean” to deliver that message. Robby may not be here to deliver the message, to tell his story, but his spirit and his dream are very much alive. Now, through this foundation, his voice will be heard, the silence will be broken, and his mission of service to others will be fulfilled.
WE ARE AND WILL ALWAYS BE OUR ROBBY’S VOICE
Founded in May 2012, Robby’s Voice is a community-based organization driven to beat the drug epidemic we are facing. Focused on prevention through awareness and education, and support for addicts and families struggling with addiction, Robby’s Voice is helping to shatter the stigma so that families and communities can thrive.
Robby’s Voice is the vision of Robby Brandt, a young man who battled addiction himself. Robby wanted to teach others about the pain of addiction as well as create a community where addicts could come together and support each other in recovery. He did not have the chance to see his dream come true as he passed away from an accidental overdose in October of 2011.
Robby’s family decided; “we would not allow another family to experience what we had without doing everything we could to prevent it.” Building upon Robby’s vision, and joined by family and friends, ROBBY’S VOICE has been a driving force in prevention and recovery ever since.
WHAT WE DO
Robby’s Voice works diligently to ensure that parents and students have a resource to stay informed while we all work to break the silence and shatter the stigma of addiction and thrive.
It is our mission to ensure that our communities have a reliable place to turn to for guidance, information and support.
- Speaking programs for schools, communities and organizations
- Guidance and support for families and addicts
- Consulting for schools and communities building awareness campaigns and action plans
- Social media and web-based information and awareness
- Family Support Group (Family Matters)
- Post Treatment recovery community center (Robby’s in Medina, Ohio)
The key to winning the war against addiction lies within the efforts of the community. We must take our communities back through education, awareness and prevention. We must shatter the stigma of addiction so that families and communities can thrive. WE ALL MAKE A DIFFERENCE
WHAT WE HAVE ACCOMPLISHED
Joined by family and friends, the organization has earned recognition for its efforts:
- 2013 LCADA WAY Howard Marusa Community Service Award
- 2014 Cuyahoga County ADAHMS BOARD award for Family Involvement
- 2015 Operation Keepsake CARE Award
- 2016 Six District Educational Compact Award of Appreciation
- 2017 FBI Directors Award for Community Service (1 of 58 recipients nationally)
- 2018 Medina Recovery Community Legacy Award
But it isn’t the awards that drive the organization. It is Robby’s dream and a deep commitment to other families that ignites our spirit. We have experienced that loss and live everyday wondering what we could have done differently. As we travel this journey, we realize how much we did not know, how much we did not see. Not because we were not aware or engaged but because the game has changed, and we had just not caught up.
Robby had a dream; he wanted to speak to students, to help them choose to “live clean.” He wanted to support those working for recovery. He did not have a chance to see his dream come true, but we will make sure it does.
We are Robby’s Voice.
|Operating Vice President||Bob Brandt|
|Director of Marketing||Anne Browning|
Robby’s Voice Team Members:
Family Matters Team:
The following individuals and organizations are leaders in the battle to defeat this epidemic. They continually go the extra step to impact our communities, and to make a difference for families touched by this disease. They act unselfishly, and have embraced ROBBY’S VOICE, our team and our mission.
Monica Robins, WKYC Channel 3, Senior Health Editor
Tom Stuber, The LCADA Way, President and CEO