I spend a lot of time out in our community trying to get a good read on the issues and concerns facing our region. What's working, what's not? Whose story needs to be told? Who needs a champion, an advocate?
Viewers tell us repeatedly they don't just want a television station that delivers news. They want a station that works hard to connect with the community and make it a better place for all of us to live. And their stories come from all corners of the region.
Here at Channel 3, we've worked on advocacy projects big and small. Some as big as lending our support to help pass Issue 107, Cleveland's 15-mil levy last November. Some that through investigative journalism and by being a watchdog for viewers, helped changed laws.
Some as small as raising awareness and finding partners to help the Cleveland Furniture Bank or the NICU unit at MetroHealth Medical Center or telling our viewers the Cleveland Police Athletic League needed their help to buy toys this past Christmas.
Right now, we have our sights focused on heroin and telling the story of a growing epidemic that's affecting individuals and families across Northeast Ohio.
The numbers are alarming! In Cuyahoga County alone, the number of heroin related deaths has increased 177 percent from 2007 to 2012. And it's a similar story in cities and suburbs throughout the area. No neighborhood, no school, no family is immune.
That's why we got involved, to tell the story our viewers brought to us, of lives lost and ruined, of the struggle to recover and the hope that leads some to stay sober.
So why take on this subject when so many would rather turn their heads and look the other way? Because it's right in our own backyard and it's a problem that's killing our young people.
If we talk about it, we might together have the power to change the tide. If we educate ourselves and our kids to the deadly danger of heroin, we might save just one life, just one family.
The key is prevention through education. It's critical we get to our young people and educate them about the horrors of heroin before they could even consider trying it. So let's start by educating ourselves.
Join us for Heroin: Old Drug, New Killer Epidemic April 18 at 7 p.m. on WKYC. The hour-long documentary looks at what's behind the growing epidemic, the havoc being wreaked on so many lives and what can be done to get it under control. And we'd like to hear from you.
What's "Your Take"? Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and give me your take on how we can all work together to make Northeast Ohio a better place to live.