Mark Wahlberg Youth Foundation

New Mexico Youth Opioid Summit #drugfreeisuptome

On Wednesday, March 6, nearly 3,500 New Mexican  youth gathered at the Santa Ana Star Center for the New Mexico Youth Summit on Opioid Awareness.  

Mark Wahlberg Youth Foundation - National Youth Opioid Epidemic

The summit featured emotional presentations by local family members as well as youth in recovery speakers about the realities associated with drug use and abuse.The 3 hour program was designed to educate, inspire and engage area youth to be part of the solution to the  opioid epidemic.


Additionally, uplifting spoken word, dance and musical performances by Zavier Thompson, Holy Faith, B-MC Boys and African Acrobats Tinafan, and New Mexico native and recent winner of “The Voice” Chevel Shepherd electrified the audience.

Lead Community Partner Walmart provided snacks and water to both attendees and volunteers, as well as backstage catering.  


The cornerstone of the summit was the movie, “If Only.” Additional highlights included  educational and compelling presentations from Jim Wahlberg, Albuquerque Area Indian Health Services Chief Medical Officer Dr. Julianna J. Reece, parent survivor and Serenity Mesa Youth Recovery Center Executive Director Jennifer Weiss-Burke, and ultimate fighting champion Court  McGee, among many other local advocates and celebrities

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“Thank you so much guys, I am still in awe of the event and how amazing it was. I am so thankful to have been a part of it. I appreciate everything you guys did to bring the event to NM and in honoring the NM flavor that made it its own.... I have received so many emails and phone calls since the event and everyone is just in awe and so many were deeply impacted. I received an email from someone I went to high school with who said one of her students sought help for her substance abuse after the summit.
— Jennifer Weiss-Burke, Parent Survivor and Executive Director, Serenity Mesa Youth Recovery Center
It was truly a pleasure to be a part of this worthy event. Thank you for your dedication to making pro grams like these a huge success! I hope to work with you again!
— Jennifer Haddock, Pharm.D., Walmart Market Health and Wellness Director
“The event was a collaboration that showcased the intimacy and beauty of our state with the content and structure of highly effective education programming. Hats Off to The Mark Wahlberg Youth Foundation and The Rendon Group!”
— Roger Montoya, Moving Arts Española
Chevel loved talking and performing for all the students, teachers and the community!! She loves making a difference and helping people!! Let us know if you want to do it again!!
— Julie Shepherd, Mom/Agent to Chevel Shepherd
I was very impressed and moved by the entire program. Kudos to all of you for doing this important work. We have truly come a long way since ‘Reefer Madness’. My wife attended also. She is a former educator and has attended many drug programs that she found boring and not very effective. She too thought this program really hit the mark.
— Sam Rodar, Event Photographer