“If These Kids Didn’t Have CHADD, They Could Not Realize How Smart They Are”

An Essay by Drew Lavine
Introduction from Gina Pera, Silicon Valley CHADD coordinator:

Northern California CHADD volunteers often receive requests for interviews from students writing papers about AD/HD, but this one was different. Drew Lavine, a seventh-grader at Gideon Hausner Jewish Day School in Palo Alto (http://www.hausner.com), informed me via e-mail that this particular interview held the promise of a big cash prize.

Very cute, I thought, as we set the interview appointment, assuming that a seventh-grader might consider $25 a big cash prize. (But hey, so would our board and be grateful for it!)

The first surprise came when Drew’s interviewing prowess rivaled that of my former colleagues at the newspaper, complete with speedy keyboard clattering as we talked on the telephone. He asked informed questions about mission statements, boards, and all sorts of details that sent me scurrying to the CHADD national Web site for answers.

After hanging up the phone, I learned more about the school’s special emphasis on philanthropy by reading a New York Times article (http://tinyurl.com/38qumu). It turns out, Drew wasn’t simply doing a class project; he and his classmates were taking an entire class on philanthropy. It’s called Avodah La’Olam, which is Hebrew for “the work of the world.”

As the article explains, Rather than simply encouraging students to give of their time or money, some schools are teaching them to do so more effectively. For months, each student had gathered information on a chosen charity and prepared a presentation for the class all in hopes of winning a portion of the treasury these students had generously amassed over the year. At the culminating ceremony, each would present a check to the chosen charities.

That day, at the end of the school year, I had the immense pleasure of visiting the school, where I chatted with each child as they stood before their posters and readily answered questions about their sponsored charity. The breadth and depth of their knowledge astounded me, as did their openness, poise, and confidence. (Could I try seventh grade again, here?) Such beautiful children, and such amazing lessons they were learning. Sitting in the audience as each one presented their gift to their charity’s representative, I felt reassured that the world would soon be in this generation’s hands.

As if witnessing this moving ceremony wasn’t a big enough prize, Drew handed CHADD a check for $1,087.30Wow!!

Do you need some informed, youthful inspiration to support CHADD’s efforts in Northern California (http://tinyurl.com/ypdko4)? Below, we share with you the persuasive essay that Drew wrote for his classmates. (I’m sure he wasn’t thinking of the tax-deduction, but you might want to know that we are a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization.)


Drew’s essay follows below…

My Persuasive Essay about CHADD

By Drew Lavine

I have AD/HD; I have had it since the second grade, which was when I was diagnosed with it. I was given medicine to take, to suppress my AD/HD, but it didn’t work at first. At first I was a maniac, completely out of control. I would do bad things, but I wasn’t a bad kid. I was just a kid with AD/HD, misunderstood and set from the other kids by a disorder that wasn’t my fault. I just needed some help, and I got it.

My parents took me to a doctor who tested me and gave me good medicine. I was also taught how to control my AD/HD, and all this help helped me to become the kid I am today. But unfortunately, a lot of kids don’t have the opportunities to get the help that I got, for many different reasons–financial problems, for example, or the teachers at their school don’t understand them. This is unfortunate, because most of these kids are good kids. They have potential, and they are smart, but they just need some help to bring out that potential inside of them. That is where my agency, Children and Adults with AD/HD, or CHADD, comes in.

There are many different problems that my organization deals with, but the main one you could say is AD/HD. AD/HD really isn’t a problem. It is how the kids who are diagnosed with AD/HD are treated that is the problem, whether it is wrongly by teachers or poorly by parents, because the parents and the teachers don’t know how to deal with AD/HD in children. Another problem you could say is that some families cannot afford the medication that the children need to help them control their AD/HD.

There is one question on everyone’s mind right now: Why should we care about this organization, and AD/HD? Well let me tell you a story to explain. My former teacher, Meri, used to teach at a different school, and every time a teacher couldn’t handle a kid with AD/HD, they dumped them on Meri. Meri was fine with this, because she knew how to deal with kids with AD/HD, which is also how she dealt with me. By the time the year was over with these kids, they had gone from a 3rd grade reading level to a 6th grade reading level, and keep in mind that these kids were in the 7th grade. Think about if Meri hadn’t been there; these kids may have not discovered the talent that they have. Unfortunately, not a lot of teachers have the same abilities that Meri has. That is where my organization, CHADD, helps out. They have seminars that talk to teachers and parents about how to work with and help children with ADHD. If these kids didn’t have CHADD, they could not realize how smart they are. We need to help these children in school, and in everyday life, because if I hadn’t been helped with my AD/HD, I would not have turned out to be who I am today.

CHADD helps in many different ways. It helps teach the teachers and parents how to deal with AD/HD in kids. It also helps adults with AD/HD who have been rejected or have felt left out feel like they are welcome. Let me tell you a story that the person I interviewed, Gina Pera, told me. A very smart man who works at a high-tech company came to one of CHADD’s meetings, and he was very sad because of the way that AD/HD was affecting his life. When the meeting began, he was on the brink of suicide, but when the meeting ended he was a whole new man. That is what CHADD does for people with AD/HD; they make their lives better. This is why I think that CHADD is such an important organization.

These kids with AD/HD, who are misunderstood and do not have the help that they need, fortunately now have help, thanks to CHADD. CHADD has helped many people in the U.S., and they will continue to help people, but they can’t do that without funds. That’s where we come in; we can help CHADD get the money that they need to keep helping people. These kids need help, because they could be the next Albert Einstein. Did you know that he had AD/HD too? He’s just one of many famous and brilliant people who had AD/HD, and if they hadn’t been around, then the world might be a different place. So are you going to leave that potential hidden, a potential that might change the world? I hope not.


Thank you again to Drew Lavine, his parents Cliff and Hildy, and the Gideon Hausner Jewish Day School. CHADD is so grateful for your help and immensely proud of Drew and all your seventh-graders past, present, and future.