On October 1, 2016, SafeLaunch brought Flights Above Addiction and their interactive “static display” aircraft DJ to Ernest A. Love Field in Prescott, Arizona for the AOPA (Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association) Fly-In. This was a very special event for SafeLaunch as the plane was greeted and cared for by some very special guests, “Wing Parents” of three of the young people who “fly” with the aircraft wherever it goes. The SafeLaunch founders are grateful to these families for sharing their child’s story to help break the stigma surrounding the disease of addiction and raise awareness of the high risks associated with teen drug and alcohol exposure. These young people are the Wind Beneath Our Wings.
PRESCOTT- The death of a child is one of the most painful things a parent can go through. Bonnie and Floyd Waite went through this when their child, James, died six years ago at the age of 35 from addiction.
“It’s been six years to just deal with it,” said Bonnie.
“You never get over it,” Floyd added.
Bonnie and Floyd Waite are involved with SafeLaunch, a 501(c)(3) volunteer organization, whose goal is to inform both parents and children about addiction. The SafeLaunch plane was on display at the AOPA event at the Ernest A. Love Prescott Municipal Airport.
“We started SafeLaunch to educate parents about brain development,” said SafeLaunch co-founder Janet Rowse. “It turns out that most people don’t know that the real risk for kids and drug use is the fact that their brains are not fully developed.”
SafeLaunch is sending home the message of addiction dangers to children in creative ways. During the AOPA (Aircraft Owner and Pilots Association) Fly-In at the Ernest A. Love Field in Prescott, the organization brought a plane owned by fellow co-founder Ron Cuff and allowed children to make their own mark on the aircraft using markers and paint after learning a lesson about addiction dangers from Cuff and other volunteers.
“My hope is that by allowing kids to get this close to an airplane, become intimately familiar with it-the way it looks-the way it feels, perhaps inspire a dream in them,” said Cuff.
“I tell the kids that a good life is like a good flight. My flights have all been good because I plan for them, because I keep my mind sharp, because I always have a destination in mind and then I always have an alternate in mind,” Cuff continued. “So I tell the kids that they have to keep their mind sharp and they have to decide on what they plan to do with their life in order for it to be successful.”