How can a business degree in marketing help stop drug addiction?
Ask Woodbury School of Business marketing student, Parker Johnson, and he’ll tell you getting his Woodbury degree is essential to opening more doors to help young people retaliate and turn against drug addiction.
“We’re out to change the way the world looks at and interprets addiction,” says Johnson. “Our goal is to lift and inspire those who feel lost and let them know they’re not alone. The best way for me to get that message out to the people who need it most, is to educate myself in business and marketing. Woodbury is already teaching me so much,” says Johnson.
Johnson is a unique UVU Entrepreneur and Vice President of Marketing at Empower: Slave to None – a non-profit organization dedicated to spreading hope, encouragement and healing through sharing real-life addiction stories with the Utah high school and university circuit, as well as the young adult addict community. The message is shared via viral marketing, videos and targeted live events entitled “Hope Kills Dope.”
“Addiction can be very lonely. Loneliness leads to isolation and isolation can only lead to trouble,” says Johnson. “We want to let young people with addiction issues know that they can get the help they need and that they’re never alone.”
Johnson lived in South Africa for two years on a voluntary assignment for the LDS church. While there, he had the opportunity to help many people overcome their individual addictions.
Empower: Slave to None is a movement that takes the raw, real stories of addiction and recovery, then transforms them into a dynamic “assembly-style” forum, delivering the message “live” through engaging audio-visual content, music and testimonials to Utah high schools, community festivals and social media.
Ridgeline High School was one of the first to host Empower: Slave to None. The reception was overwhelming. Every seat in their auditorium was filled with music and the enthusiastic voices of recovered addicts and hopeful young people seeking help, and learning how they can resist the enticement of drugs through helping each other.
“I was empowered. My name is Brooke Lynn Mason. I’m 15 and I got the unbelievable opportunity to meet some of the most amazing, inspiring people. I was chosen to come up on the stage of when they were at Ridgeline High School in front of many people, and on the count of three they all screamed and cheered for me telling me I was loved and not alone. I started to tear up and I realized that it was true.
I’ve had hard times with people there in the past but as soon as I saw them all cheering, right then and there my heart was moved and I felt all that love from every single person in the room. From that day on, I felt like it wasn’t just me and my shadow. I was connected with all of them.
I talked to the Empower: Slave to None group afterwards and it was like we were family. They didn’t treat me differently, or acted like they didn’t have time for me. They helped me deeply and profoundly. It has impacted me since then and I thank them for that incredible experience to be loved and empowered!”
Johnson is joined by a committed team of other “under 30” philanthropists including Branden Nielsen, Musician and Producer; Courtney Moreland, Videographer; Keiyana Osmond, Performer & Event Coordinator.
The program uses the universal 12-Step program to bring young addicts full-circle including:
Trust in God
Change of Heart
Restitution & Reconciliation
Johnson’s work on his Woodbury degree, coupled with a full Empower: Slave to None event schedule, and his upcoming nuptials keeps him busy, but he is ever focused on his life’s work.
“This is what I was meant to do,” he says. “I saw first-hand on my mission what helping people can mean. But it needs to be shared in everyday situations, as a life-long commitment I’ve made to inspire– to lift and be lifted.”