The holidays are a difficult time for those with loved ones fighting with the effects of addiction. The Keegan Theatre will be holding a benefit performance of An Irish Carol this Friday, December 29, 2017 for Shatterproof, a national nonprofit organization dedicated to ending the devastation that addiction causes families. We took a moment with Sheri Herran, one of the Founders and Company Manager of The Keegan Theatre, and Jasmine Bass from Shatterproof to discuss this upcoming benefit event.
Why did you choose this production of An Irish Carol to host a benefit for Shatterproof?
Sheri: My son, Steven Herren, worked on lights for this production last December (2016) and passed away on December 12 from an overdose. I wanted to remember Steven this December and Mark and Susan Rhea were kind of enough to allow me to partner with Shatterproof and Keegan is donating half of the proceeds to Shatterproof.
What can audiences gain from this production?
Sheri: An Irish Carol is an original piece by Keegan Company Member Matthew J. Keenan. He hails from Ireland and has created a version of A Christmas Carol in an Irish pub. It is a Keegan tradition. It’s not a family show, but it has the same message. It’s Christmas Eve, and voices from the past, present, and future change the life of a wealthy pub owner in a comic and heartwarming way.
What made you choose Shatterproof as a partner organization for this event?
Sheri: For my son’s funeral, we looked for relevant organizations for donations to be sent in lieu of flowers and my daughter Laura Herren found Shatterproof. We liked the mission of Shatterproof and all they do for advocating for those with the disease of addiction.
How does your organization help those who suffer from addiction?
Jasmine: Shatterproof is a national nonprofit organization dedicated to ending the devastation that addiction causes families. We were founded in 2012 by our CEO Gary Mendell, whose son Brian struggled with addiction for 10 years before losing his own life. Since 2012, Shatterproof has accomplished many things, including but not limited to:
- Creating the Substance Use Disorder Treatment Task Force, uniting private and public payers, advocates and former government officials around a shared goal: to ensure that every American with a substance use disorder has access to treatment based upon proven research.
- Introducing eight National Principles of Care: developed by our Task Force, based upon the Surgeon General’s recent report, and backed by decades of research. Sixteen health insurance payers, representing over 248 million lives, have committed to adopt and uphold these principles.
- Launching the Shatterproof Workplace Initiative, a program dedicated to reducing the costs, stigma, and negative impact of addiction while building recovery-friendly work environments.
- Creating Shatterproof Family Support Groups, which take an evidence-based approach to education and support for families affected by substance use disorders.
- Building a Community Alliance program with nearly 500 grassroots ambassadors providing local education to reduce the stigma of addiction and supporting federal and state advocacy.
- Reach millions of families through grassroots events and media outreach to reduce the stigma of addiction.
Have you partnered with arts organizations in the past? What led to your interest in working with The Keegan Theatre on an event in conjunction with An Irish Carol?
Jasmine: Yes, Shatterproof has participated with art organizations in the past to bring awareness to substance use. There are many opportunities for a person to join our fight against addiction, one of them being a person, organization, or workplace creating their own fundraiser. Sheri reached out to Shatterproof to create a fundraiser where a portion of proceeds from An Irish Carol will benefit our organization. Here is a link to Sheri’s page. We are so grateful for Sherri and other advocates like her that take the initiative to work within their community. One hundred percent of the money we receive from fundraisers like this goes directly toward our mission to reduce the devastation that addiction causes families.
What is the best way that people can support someone who is struggling with addiction during the holiday season?
Jasmine: Here is a blog post providing tips on how to enjoy the holidays while in recovery. For more information on addiction and our organization visit our website at www.shatterproof.org. You will also see how you can become more involved with Shatterproof through our programs and events.
A benefit performance of An Irish Carol will take place on Friday, December 29, 2017 at 8:00 pm to support Shatterproof at the Keegan Theatre — 1742 Church Street NW, Washington, DC 20036. Additional performances of An Irish Carol play through December 31, 2017. Tickets to this performance and all other performances can be purchased online.