A FORMER drug addict and ex-con does not seem like the ideal person to talk to kids but Paris Mitchell was able to give insights to Kent Street Senior High School students.
The Churchlands resident spoke to groups of the students on February 22 after receiving a $2000 grant from Hawaiian.
“I started drinking and smoking when I was 11 or 12 years old; I had problems at home and school and I was trying to escape them,” he said.
“I was a full-blown addict when I was 18 and by 21 I was committing serious crimes and eventually went to jail for robbery and assault.
“I’ve been trying to solve my problems since then. I changed my habits and engaged service providers who could help me.”
Mr Mitchell said he had been speaking to students at schools around the state for about 18 months, manly focusing on his life experiences.
“Ultimately, I’m not everybody’s role model and there are some kids who can’t relate to me but I’ve endured some difficulties that some of the kids can understand,” he said.
“My number one message to the kids is they decide where they end up in life and they need to take responsibility.”