Corey Eisert-Wlodarczyk will never forget that day in March 2012 when his brother died of a heroin overdose.
Corey was just 11 years old when Collin died, and the memory lingers.
After the initial shock subsided, Corey began to speak at schools. He wanted to share his experience with other young people. If more people knew about Collin’s tragic death, Corey figured, lives could be saved.
But he wanted to do more than talk. Realizing that parents play an important role in recognizing and treating drug abuse, Corey had an idea. For his Eagle Scout service project, he would re-create a teenager’s bedroom.
At first glance, the room looks pretty normal. But, once educated, parents saw what was lurking just out of view: items associated with drug use and addiction.
“The education factor comes into play by taking parents through the bedroom so that they can learn the warning signs they should look for before it is too late,” Corey said.
Fake room, real impact
Corey and his volunteers built a fake bedroom using prefabricated pieces of drywall.
The room looked great, but it was nearly impossible to transport. Each time Corey wanted to take it somewhere new, setup would take hours.
So he planned version 2.0. This time, the entire bedroom would fit inside a trailer: awareness on wheels. Now Corey’s message goes anywhere accessible by pickup.
The Erie County (Pa.) Health Department gave Corey a $5,000 grant to complete the project. Thanks to the grant, orchestrated by Erie County Executive Kathy Dahlkemper, Corey bought and outfitted the trailer.
The impact hasn’t just been on families who visit the trailer. It has changed Corey, too.
“From this project I came in knowing several things. I knew how devastating a loss in the family could be and wanted to do my very best to prevent other families from having to deal with the same. I knew that America is currently in an epidemic of heroin use across the country and wanted to impact that cause,” he said. “I came out of my project having a greater understanding about myself, my family and how truly important it is to positively impact your community.”
Corey says the heroin epidemic is “one of the most serious and crippling issues in America today.”
But he’s optimistic that things can turn around.
“My deep belief is that the greatest weapon we have against it is education,” he said. “That is exactly what I hope to provide with my project.”
Eagle Scout project showcase
The Boys’ Life Eagle Scout project showcase includes even more terrific projects.