Don’t drink and drive – We’ve all heard this piece of advice, but how many of us have experienced the devastating effects firsthand when someone chooses to ignore this common-sense warning? Country music artist Jared Blake, from NBC’s season 1 of The Voice, has been sharing a “living above” approach to life to kids around the country with his Live To Be youth program. His conviction to spread this message has only grown after surviving a head-on collision with a drunk driver.
On May 9th, Jared Blake and his wife found their world turned upside down when a drunk driver was going the wrong way and crashed into them going 60mph in Nashville.
Miraculously, everyone made it out alive, but Jared’s wife, Jennifer Blake, suffered multiple injuries including a fractured spine. She shared her frightening experience with friends and family on Facebook as she began recovery.
“We were on an interstate change near downtown, on a curve, and by the time we saw headlights it was too late. We were on a bridge lucky no flips happened, but that also meant we hit almost straight on. It was terrifying and I still feel like this was all a dream. I only remember a horrible burning smell and burning throats and screaming to get out of the vehicle. Jared somehow got out and bent my door open to lay me on the ground. I couldn’t move but just stared at the stars knowing my eyes were open and I could hear so I was alive.”
She ends the post with some advice and words of encouragement,
“Our seatbelt and airbags saved us! Please use them, always! … If you want to do something, do it. Life is too short to worry about anything at all. Most of you know me well enough to know that I’m pretty good at living that way and can’t wait to get back to living.”
Jared and Jennifer Blake’s youth program, Live To Be, helps children discover their unique path, free from the use of drugs or alcohol. Jared visits schools across the US empowering kids and people of all ages by asking them who they want to be and showing them that the use of drugs or alcohol can only hinder or prevent them from achieving their goals. His appearances, public speaking, and live concerts promote a healthy, fun, cool, and self-respectful way to live.
The idea to develop this program began when it was announced on The Voice that Jared was a recovering addict. Soon after, many viewers were reaching out to him on social media, leaving messages asking for personal advice on recovery or how to help struggling friends or family members. Jared reached out to them in a limited way, fearing that he wasn’t the one they should be talking to. Everyone’s road to recovery is very different, so he referred these people to professionals that could provide the necessary help. He was also approached by several producers of different TV shows designed to help people go to recovery but was never able to fully put himself behind the projects.
Then he had an epiphany. Having six children of his own and a strong desire to support youth, he realized the best impact he could have is to reach out before there’s a problem – before they become an addict. Let children know that no one expects to become an addict; that they don’t have their first beer or go to their first party or go to college with the expectation that they are going to become an alcoholic and ruin their life.
What Jared teaches kids through his Live To Be program is that whether they’re drinking or trying recreational drugs, or really making any negative decision that prevents them from being where they want to be or being the person they want to be, that they need to stop and think – “Am I doing what’s best? Am I being the person I want to be? I know that I have the power.”
Once he tells them that they have the power, now they have to do something with it and be responsible for it. It puts the power back in their hands, making kids feel empowered to make their own choice — and to make it a good one.
If you would like Jared Blake to visit your school with Live To Be or to learn more about the program, visit livingtobe.org.
Want to help bring Jared Blake to more schools across the nation to share this powerful message? Make a donation to Live To Be.
Watch the video below to see Jared Blake’s 2017 Nashville Live To Be tour with S.A.F.E.