Monday, March 19, 2012

Former figure skating champions to join Natural High Initiative event in Morris County

Former figure skating champions to join Natural High Initiative event in Morris County

Published: Monday, March 19, 2012, 3:07 PM

JoJo Starbuck and Nicole Bobek will help Morris County Partners in Substance Abuse Prevention continue the Natural High Initiative it began five years ago when they join in an evening of free family ice skating at the Mennen Arena, 161 East Hanover Ave., in Morris Township on Thursday, March 22, from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.

Steve Nebesni, Morris County Municipal Alliance Coordinator, said the event is intended to demonstrate to young people that they can achieve highs naturally, without the aid of drugs or alcohol, by engaging in fun, uplifting activities such as the Natural High Skating event or a family movie or game night at home complete with popcorn and soft drinks.
Starbuck is a former world figure skating champion turned coach who now resides in Madison, and Bobek is a former U.S. figuring skating champion who realized her dream of making the U.S. Olympic team in 1998.
Bobek is also a recovering addict. After touring the world as a professional skater, her personal struggles with addiction led Bobek to a six-year absence from skating until she returned to the ice late last year, grateful for her “rebirth” as a person.
She will speak that evening about her battles with substance abuse and her personal triumphs at approximately 6:30 p.m. in the Mennen Arena’s Ballet Room. Admission to the skating event and skate rentals are free, and children under 12 must be accompanied by a parent or responsible adult. Youngsters do not have to skate to hear Bobek, who will also don her skates and take to the Mennen Arena ice.

Capacity is limited and pre-registration is required. For more information or to register, please call (973) 285-6860 or visit the Morris County Department of Human Services website at

The family skating night is supported by the Morris County Board of Chosen Freeholders and is made possible through the collaborative efforts of the Morris County Department of Human Services, the Morris County Partners in Substance Abuse Prevention, Morris County Prevention Is Key, the Morris County Park Commission, Atlantic Health and the United Way of Northern New Jersey.
The Morris County Partners in Substance Abuse Prevention is composed of Municipal Alliances, law enforcement, human services providers, schools and community organizations.
According to Nebesni, the group is committed to strengthening communities and empowering youth and defines a natural high as an excited or elevated state brought on by a non-drug related life event.
The coalition was formed after a community forum was held in August 2006 in response to the Operation Painkiller arrests and the rash of overdose deaths in the county.

The thrust of the group’s efforts is to address substance abuse issues from a strength-based perspective, focusing on how to build resiliency in our youth and improve the health and well-being of our communities through advocacy and education.

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