Hundreds of Clark County teens are familiar with Chad Varga and his anti-drug message.
Now their parents and other community members want to say thank you to Varga for his investment in local youth.
There will be a reception in his honor Thursday at the Winchester Opera House from 7 to 9 p.m. The event is free and desserts will be served. Varga will speak about his new book, “Bounce: Down is Inevitable, but Up is a Choice.”
“He’ll be telling all about the work he’s doing across the nation,” Karen Smith Haskins, executive director of Varga’s non-profit organization InspireNow Inc., said.
Varga is a former Division I college basketball player and former NBA player. In 2000, Varga left basketball to found InspireNow and use his background to help other teens. Growing up in Detroit, he was the son of a drug and alcohol addict and suffered a turbulent childhood. Basketball provided him with an escape, and he is now devoting his life to helping other teens escape the cycle of addiction.
He began working in Clark County after meeting Clark Christian Drug Coalition president Steve Humble at an InspireNow event in Breathitt County last year. About 2,500 teens showed up for a youth event and anti-drug rally.
The Clark Christian Drug Coalition sponsored several school programs with Varga last spring, and he has spoken at several local churches. In August, Varga returned to Clark County for Collide, a youth rally similar to the event held in Breathitt County. Teens from Clark and neighboring counties came for games, prizes, food and to hear Varga speak.
“We just thought it was imperative to try to have him here,”¿Humble said in a previous interview. “The neat thing is that, yes, he’s educating them, but this is a generation where a lot of them don’t have any reason to hope or have a sense of purpose.”
Donations for InspireNow will be accepted at the reception.
“It’s such an amazing, amazing job to see millions of kids given hope,” Haskins said of her work with InspireNow.
For more information on Varga or InspireNow, visit www.inspirenow.com.