Positive Addiction brings life-affirming message to students

May 10—LIMA — For Chad Dunlap, every moment in life is precious, a lesson he learned after a friend's life was tragically cut short.

Dunlap brought that message to students in Lima's Catholic schools during an address Friday at St. Charles School. His address was the precursor to the school's 41st annual Positive Addiction Race, a 5K to help encourage students to develop positive habits in life rather than negative addictions like drugs and alcohol.

"Watching the kids train this year has been unbelievable," St. Charles physical education teacher Dylon Webb said. "We've seen the confidence of all these kids slowly but surely rise each week, and it's been really cool to be a part of it."

Dunlap created his organization, Upshift, in 2018 to help spread his message of loving life and promoting mental health, an effort that was birthed out of the tragic experience he had at age 18 of finding his best friend who had just committed suicide.

"I wanted to find a way to take something he did that was tragic and turn it into something positive," he said. "So I put this presentation together, and my primary goal was youth, and it has grown so much since then."

Dunlap has also taken his message to other organizations in Ohio, including the Ohio Bureau of Workers Compensation's safety councils, and he is also taking his message out of state, including a trip to Sarasota, Florida in September.

"The goal of this presentation is to teach people not just how to prevent someone from taking their own life but also teach them why life is worth living," he said. "It's about the power and preciousness of moments."

In helping the students prepare for Friday's 5K over the past six weeks, Webb has seen how students have both motivated themselves to fulfill this goal and also helped each other at the same time.

"One big aspect that I thoroughly enjoy is the friendships and the bonds that these kids form during training," he said. "Some kids would never have talked to each other outside of this, but once they started training together, you could see that they would latch onto each other, they would push each other and then, at the end of the day, not only did their confidence build but also the friendships they had formed during this training."

To learn more about Dunlap's organization, go to http://www.upshiftwithchad.com.