LOWER MORELAND >> Marc Mero, a former WWE wrestling champion, visited Lower Moreland High School in Huntingdon Valley to speak to parents and students about the dangers of addiction and the power of choices April 3.

His presentation, “Time is Now!,” addressed the issues of bullying, substance abuse and suicide prevention by encouraging students to set their own goals, dream big, make positive choices and achieve their highest goals.

Mero grew up in a poor neighborhood in New York with big dreams.

“I dreamed of a better life for me and my family,” he said.

Even at age 8, he dreamed of being rich and famous, and he wrote every one of his dreams in his own little notebook (which he brought and showed the audience) to make it happen.

Mero worked hard to achieve success in hockey, football, boxing and eventually worked his way up to professional wrestling. He had it all, but at the cost of his relationship to the people he loved the most — his family.

“I slammed the door on the only person who believed in me,” he said, admitting to putting a significant strain on his relationship with his mother.

Mero was partying late into the night, taking illegal drugs and hanging out with the wrong crowd.

“We become who we surround ourselves with. Our friends are like elevators; they’re gonna take you up or they’re gonna take you down,” he said, cautioning students to choose their friends wisely.

Over the years, Mero watched as the lives of many of his close friends were cut short, almost always due to their lifestyle and negative behaviors. It was then that Mero realized fame and money wasn’t all it was cracked up to be.

“Many times, when we’re young, we think being rich and famous is the key to happiness,” he said to the crowd. “I’m living proof that happiness is the key to success.”

In sharing his personal journey, Mero said he hopes to inspire people to examine their own lives.

“Anyone can achieve their goals and dreams if they choose to believe,” he said.

In 2007, Mero founded the nonprofit organization Champion of Choices. He now dedicates his life to helping others become the champion of their own life by making smart life choices.

Mero has presented to more than 1,600 schools, reaching more than 750,000 students, parents and educators.

This program was hosted by the Embracing the Conversation Committee of the Lower Moreland Township School District, a district committee focused on drug prevention, and was financially supported by the Foundation for Lower Moreland Schools. This was the committee’s first official program.

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