Action Family Foundation To Present 'The Experience' Soon -Mon, 06/30/2014 - 12:10pm

Action Family Foundation officials of the Santa Clarita Valley is saying "enough is enough" when it comes to drug-related deaths.

"The Experience" a motor home turned traveling, electronic digital memorial is the newest strike in the war on drugs. It's expected to be ready for action within two to three months, said Carl Goldman, co-owner of KHTS AM 1220.

"We're looking for additional donations to finish it," said Goldman. "The vehicle is purchased, its been gutted out and work is started on refurbishing it. Now were asking for additional donations to finish the work. We've began work on the content and we're now moving forward with final editing with that."

The intention of "The Experience" is to educate the community of the consequences of using drugs while giving families and friends a place to remember and mourn those who have lost their lives to drug use.

"What inspired us was when the city did the Heroin Symposium for the first time," said Goldman "We then became aware of the heroin program. Louis Esbin and I thought we should do something similar to what they did in Central Park so we got all of the stakeholders together."

Contributors to "The Experience" include the city's Blue Ribbon Task Force, the SCV Sheriff's Station, the William S. Hart District, the Child & Family Center, city of Santa Clarita, KHTS AM 1220, and the SCV Youth Project and families who have lost loved ones to drug abuse.

"We created 'The Experience' for two reasons -- one for an educational piece for teens and adults to walk through and also as a memorial for those of us who have lost someone to a drug overdose," said Krissy McKafee, a board member for Action Family Foundation. " it can go to school events where we can have a presentation and students can see those who have passed away in their area and videos of parent, friend, brothers, sisters who have lost loved ones to drug-related incidents."

McKafee lost her son, 24-year-old Trae Allen in 2010 to a heroin overdose, according to past KHTS AM 1220 articles.

"The Experience" is expected to be used at events such as Concerts in the Park, Every 15 Minutes, High School Football Games, Emergency Expo and the July 4th Parade.

The mission statement -- "We are committed to cause a shift in consciousness, by raising awareness about the lasting effects that drug fatalities have on friends and families" further describes the goals of "The Experience".

"I think it's a very exciting deal," said Cary Quashen, founder of Action Family Foundation. "The more we can do to educate our younger generations of the nature of drug abuse and addiction, the better. This is one more tool in our toolbox that we can pull out and get attention from everybody."

The qualifications to have someone included in the video for "The Experience" include being under the age of 25, the person must have been a Santa Clarita resident or if they left the area, they must have one parent or guardian still living in the valley and drug use must have be a major contributor in their death.

"Both parents have to sign off if the deceased is a minor, the spouse has to sign off if the person was married," said Goldman. We went a year older than the Youth Grove on the age group."

The vehicle will include two videos, a short trailer and a longer film showing interviews with families and friends who have lost loved ones to drug-related deaths.

"It's always very difficult to relive it by telling the story again but I've always said this from the beginning, that it's healing for me to talk to people about (Trae's death) I guess that's my therapy and that's what I get from other parents," said McKafee. "I know that lost someone to this, my daughter who is 26 years old now is part of the video, too. My son who is 22 years old, is still so hurt inside from it that he could not do a video, he can't be around of the things that i'm doing to hear the story again."

Along with the Youth Grove at Central Park, youths and their parents who attend a hearing in a Santa Clarita Court for a drug or alcohol-related charge will be recommended to experience "The Experience" to further instill the consequences of drug use.

"Action Family Foundation took the ball and they were the ones most passionate about it," said Goldman. "It's Action Family Foundation's project with all of the other contributors embracing and providing input in the project."

Quashen hopes that anyone who walks through "The Experience" can understand and feel how the families and friends of those who have died feel.

"I think it's sad that we have the ability to have one of these, that we have a need for it," said Quashen. "If the people who lost their lives don't die in vain, we can use that to save other lives. We really want to do everything in our power at Action to intervene and beat drug abuse."