Despite the tragedy that would come, Matt was like so many typical kids. He grew up in a loving and supportive family, enjoyed many friendships, and loved to play baseball.
Matt was involved with his youth group, played baseball and soccer for and graduated from Worthington Christian High School, attended Kamp Kanakuk in Missouri every summer, worked at the Golf Dome, enjoyed going to the Cleveland Browns games with his family, and loved playing golf with his father.
Matt was outgoing, embraced life, and gave legendary bear hugs.
But, sadly, he wasn’t immune from the disease that took his life when he was 21.
Matt could have been my son or yours. The sad fact is there are many families who know too well what Paul and Ellen Schoonover, Matt’s parents, have gone through. Although Matt came from a middle-class background – even though his family and friends loved him – he started to misuse drugs when he was in high school. Gradually, Matt shifted from partying with drugs to becoming dependent upon them.
At 21, Matt left rehab and one day later fatally overdosed. Matt was a victim of the opiate crisis. Our children — whether they come from suburban families, urban neighborhoods, or rural communities — are OUR children. They are each susceptible to the disease of addiction that grips our nation and our state. But together, we can do something.
Last year in Ohio, 4,050 people just like Matt lost their life to an overdose. The opiate crisis has become an epidemic that is tearing apart our families, and it must be stopped.
In order to stop this epidemic, we have to prevent our kids from misusing drugs in the first place, teach our kids the skills they need to cope with life’s problems, and surround our kids with parents and communities that nurture them.
We’ve been preventing substance misuse and promoting mental health wellness for 30 years. We do that by providing communities with the resources and knowledge necessary to educate the community about prevention, empower youth to resist drug use, and advocate for policies that create a supportive environment where families thrive.
During this epidemic, these resources are needed more than ever before.
Support the Matthew B. Schoonover Educational Center
With your help, we can build a state-of-the-art training facility and education center. It will be a gathering place for youth, community coalitions, and universities to share ideas, discuss best practices, and develop solutions to the opiate crisis. This facility will empower youth and communities to engage in prevention, educate parents and professionals about the risks of substance misuse and how it can affect anyone, and advocate for policies, programs, and community norms that support our children and our families.
With your help, we can bring local, state, and national leaders in prevention to Ohio, develop solutions to the challenges every community in Ohio faces, and create easy-to-access resources that will benefit youth, community, and higher education leaders.
With your help, we can dedicate this facility to Matt and call it the Matthew B. Schoonover Educational Center to remind ourselves of why we fight so hard – so no more children have to die.
Anyone Can Make a Positive Difference in this Fight
Make a Donation
Suggested Donation: $25.00
Please consider supporting Prevention Action Alliance and the Matthew B. Schoonover Educational Center by making a tax-deductible donation. Every dollar helps bolster prevention across the lifespan and in all sectors of the community. With your help, we can build a state-of-the-art training center, prevent drug use, and save lives.