Funny man delivers powerful message

 

By Joel Charron

Western Secondary School students had a unique visitor deliver a rather powerful message last Wednesday morning.

Motivational speaker and actor Matt John Evans encouraged students to confront challenges, be safe on the road and be responsible when it comes to alcohol during a one-hour presentation in the school’s cafeteria.

Evans spoke of his own life experiences while  bringing light to the subject by using humor to relate to the students.

Evans, who is also the executive director of Ontario Students Against Impaired Driving (OSAID) said car accidents are the top killer of Canadian teens.

Evans said after speaking with professional drivers, he was told it takes seven years to properly learn to drive and develop a “split second advantage.”

“It you are a new driver, take the time and learn how to drive,” he said. “The more experience you get, the better you are at things.”

Evans also mentioned that wearing a seat belt is another important issue, however that message was aimed at adults as well.

“Most teens in Ontario wear seat belts,” stated Evans. “You how who is not wearing seat

Using his own brand of humor, motivational speaker Matt John Evans speaks to students at Western Secondary School on Wednesday, March 28.

belts? Adults.”

Evans believes there is too much emphasis placed on drinking and partying.

“We’ve got a problem in this country in what we perceive is normal partying,” he said. “We treat booze in this country like it descended from heaven. If all you think about all the time is when are you going to get wasted next, you need to talk to somebody.”

He mentioned that if people choose to not drink at party or social gathering that other need to leave them alone and let them do their own thing.

Evans reminisced about losing two close friends at the age of 19. Originally, Evans said he thought of the deaths as accidents, however realized he could have done more once he started working along side teenagers.

“You’ve got a responsibility to talk to them. You are not a doctor, you are a friend. Talk about the stuff that matter. Be careful and look out for your friends,” he said.

Evans urged students to overcome their challenges and meet them head on. He explained to the students that he often struggled in school, stating that when report cards were handed out he didn’t try, care or work, something that would later change down the road.

Evans told students that challenges in life become easier to overcome when one begins to try, care and work.

“When you do that, you can meet challenges face on. You might not beat it, but you walk away knowing you tried, you cares and you worked,” said Evans.

Evans said that he has to work six times harder than the average person because he is dyslexic. He told students that quitting on something is easy in the beginning, however not facing your problem at once can snowball into something bigger in the future.

“When you quit something you find hard, a couple of weeks later it becomes a problem and a couple of years later it becomes a fear,” said Evans.

Evans even touched upon bullying, stating that bullies may be feared but are not respected.

“Bullies are people who want to hurt people and put them down,” said Evans. “If you like doing that, you should talk to someone about that. If you are being bullied, it’s not nice.”

Evans also told the students that they should set a good example for young children, as they often look up to the older teenagers.

“You are role models,” he stated. “They look at everything you do. If you do good stuff, they’ll do good stuff. If you do bad stuff, they’ll do bad stuff. They model themselves after you.”

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