As I sit here tallying up arrows and counting donations, I am in awe of all the love and support The Mastro Family have received over the past few weeks. 20 days ago my daughter, Mia Mastro, decided she wanted to do something to help others. We heard about planting seeds of hope through the Seeds of Hope Virtual Event for Herren Project. I always preach to my children (Mia 12, Vince 7, Arianna 6, and Luca 1) to “be the best you” and “MAKE GOOD CHOICES.” After hearing the “Be YOU” motto of Herren Project Clubs and because this cause hit so close to home, I knew we had found the right place to help make a difference.
I always wondered how and when I would teach my kids about prevention and substance use. To me, it’s such an important topic that should be discussed freely and at a young age. Growing up, my brother struggled with addiction for many years. It affected me and my own choices my whole life. I am very proud to say on June 23, my brother celebrated 6 years of sobriety. I have looked up to him (I have looked up to both of my brothers) since I can remember. Mia knows about his addiction. It is discussed often in our family. Having her younger siblings watch her raise money and speak about prevention has been very eye opening. Even more, it makes me so proud of her.
As my husband Mike and I have watched our daughter make dozens of phone calls and send emails asking for people to donate to her virtual run, we were beyond proud. She wanted a way to raise even more money though. Archery us a favorite hobby for her and her dad, so she came up with the idea to sell arrows to people and shoot those arrows at a target with dollar amounts on it. Whatever she shot, that was the donation. Her initial goal was to raise $200. The more people saw her videos on social media, the more the interest increased and people wanting to buy an arrow. Since she started, that $200 is now close to $5,000. There are no words for watching your 12-year-old make goals and not only reach them, but surpass them, all on her own.
This is such an important cause. I can’t express how important that first conversation about prevention is with our children. This month alone, Mia’s videos have been seen by thousands of people, spreading awareness and helping so many people. Today Mia told me, “Mom, I’ve helped save two lives raising this money. It makes my heart feel so good.” As parents, knowing your child is aware, listening and making good choices is so very rewarding. Thank you to Chris Herren and Herren Project for giving my daughter a platform to stand on to spread the word to her peers about something very important to me and my family and that needs to be talked about. SHE is proud. WE are proud.
The Seeds of Hope Virtual event was part of this year’s 2020 annual campaign, The Empowerment Appeal. The Seeds of Hope event engaged 144 adults and 16 teens from all across the country. They ran over 14,000 miles collectively and raised over $40K for the programs of Herren Project. You can read more here about this cross-country adventure and how seeds of hope were planted to empower those affected by addiction to live healthy, fulfilling lives substance-free.