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      Ex-gang member and drug user coaches and motivates students

      Delta County schools are hosting author and motivational speaker Ron Glodoski this week with his message of "Trying to Turn Kids Around". He'll be visiting nine schools to spread awareness on the destructive effects of bullying, drug, and alcohol abuse. Wednesday, he presented his message at the Escanaba Junior High Auditorium.

      â??I used to sell between 2,000 and 5,000 pounds of marijuana a week,â?? explains Glodoski. â??I sold two, three, four kilos of cocaine a week. So I tell kids, there's no such thing as a successful criminal."

      It may be surprising to some that a man is out in the community, encouraging kids to avoid destructive behavior. He would know how because he's lived and survived it. Glodoski joined his first gang when he was 12 years old, and now he's coaching kids on what behaviors to embrace and reject. He says the number one dream-killer for teenagers is drugs and alcohol. The second dream-killer is hanging out with negative people, and the third is when kids quit believing in themselves.

      Heâ??s been drug-free for 28 years now. His mission is to keep kids from even venturing on the wrong path. Thatâ??s also the hope of Kelly Arnold, a Prevention Specialist with Public Health. She helped organize the event.

      â??My biggest goal was for one kid,â?? says Arnold. â??I wanted to see at least one kid helped. And Iâ??ve seen so many in the last three days that it's made all the work 100 percent worth it."

      Many kids shared their painful experiences of bullying and having loved ones battle destructive diseases.

      Others are more fortunate.

      â??I don't really have these kinds of issues because my dad and mom are really strict about not using drugs or alcohol,â?? says seventh grader Kelsey Polequin. â??If my dad caught me, he's going to be really mad."

      What keeps Glodoski going?

      â??When I see that in kids, and I see that light going off in their heads; it's like, alright, one more time, one more time. I love it," Glodoski says.

      Student surveys conducted this week praise his message as being relatable and eye-opening.