IU students and future healthcare workers are helping kids transform at Camp Mariposa-Aaron's Place
Sitting around a campfire in a wooded area in Indianapolis, Alan Alvarez couldn't help but be moved by the stories he was hearing.
Young campers at Camp Mariposa-Aaron's Place were sharing letters they had written about addiction and how it had impacted their families. Camp Mariposa-Aaron’s Place is a year-round addiction prevention and mentoring program for youth affected by the substance use disorder of a family member.
"Listening to some of the students read their letters was such a poignant moment," said Alvarez, a fourth-year medical student at the Indiana University School of Medicine. "Despite their young age, it was clear that many of them knew how addiction changes a person, which sort of shocked me, to be honest, and they were able to vocalize how much they don’t like addiction and what it does to people around them."
Although shocked by how much the children knew about addiction, Alvarez could also relate. He grew up with a father addicted to cocaine and gambling. Although his family worked to shelter him from the turmoil caused by addiction, Alvarez knew his life was unusual.