Last call has been announced at Warren Area High School.
On April 17, Warren High alumnus Brent Scarpo will be presenting "Last Call" an "audience-driven" program addressing young adult drug and alcohol use. Two assemblies will be held at Warren Area High School and an additional assembly will be held at Sheffield Area Middle/High School on April 18.
Scarpo graduated from Warren in 1980 and now lives in California where he has been involved in the film industry and, for the last 12 years, has worked as a life coach and presented speaking programs through his company New Light Media.
"I'm excited about coming back to Warren. Last time I was back was in 1998," Scarpo said. "I've been doing this for 12 years and I've kind of changed my paradigm."
According to information on Scarpo's website, www.brentscarpo.com, "Last Call" is a 60- to 90-minute program examining drugs and alcohol issues in an interactive format.
"This is one of my favorite programs," Scarpo said. "I spent two years researching what I want to do because a lot of drug and alcohol programs out there are horrible. I brought my theater into it. Students actually do the program on stage as improv."
Bringing theater in is a natural move for Scarpo. He has worked as a producer, writer, director and casting director with credits on well-known productions including "The Shawshank Redemption", "Matilda", "That Thing You Do" and "Air Force One".
He's bringing that background to bear for a good cause.
"When I graduated, we actually lost a student before prom and I will never forget that," Scarpo recalled. "This is to help facilitate wise decision-making."
Scarpo isn't limiting his efforts to next month's presentation, however. He said he is working toward providing additional programs each spring and fall.
"I don't want this to be a Band-Aid," Scarpo said. "It needs to be consistent."
Scarpo is working locally with Betsy Foley on fundraising and their plans extend to additional programming.
The two hope to bring programming to Warren ten times over a five year period beginning next month and offer a scholarship at the end of each school year.
According to a donation request letter from New Light, co-signed by Foley, fund-raising goals are $10,000 to $15,000 in year one and $50,000 to $60,000 over five years.
Scarpo said the funds were meant to offset costs of providing programs and scholarships.
"I want to continue with this and bring speakers with myself to provide really unique programming," Scarpo said. "We'd like to bring in some big names."
One of those names is Walter 'Trey' Weatherholtz III.
Weatherholtz may be familiar from his time on MTV's Real World: St. Thomas.
Scarpo met Weatherholtz through his work as a life coach and the two have collaborated to create "The Real World of Addiction" speaking program.
"The Real World of Addiction" shares the stories of adversity and experiences with addiction Scarpo and Weatherholtz have faced and aims to help audience members face their own addiction-related challenges.
Weatherholtz was raised in a blue-collar section of Baltimore by his mother and grandmother while his drug-addicted father spent time in and out of prison.
A presentation of "The Real World of Addiction" at Warren is being planned for the fall.
Scarpo is also planning to offer scholarships each year, but not for perfect grades or athletic championships.
"We'll be doing some scholarships that are, sort of, out of the ordinary," Scarpo said. "We'll be basing them on character. I was that kid that didn't do sports too much... I didn't have great grades. I was kind of in the middle... So I wanted to do something for those students that didn't really have anywhere to go for scholarships."
Further information and contact information is available at www.brentscarpo.com.