My name is Doug Trocino, and I’m the executive director of Eastside Teen Outreach in Eastpointe, Michigan along with my wife Deena and a great team of volunteers. ETO has been working with teens in southeast Macomb County since 2008, and in that amount of time, we’ve seen literally hundreds of kids come through our doors.
On October 17th and 18th this year, I will be riding my bike from ETO’s home base in Eastpointe to Hell (Michigan) and back. I’m no athlete, and the one time I did this before, it took weeks to recover. Why would I do something like this?
Because along with each of these teens comes a story. The teens we serve are all great kids, and most are reasonably well adjusted and come from good families, of course with the normal teen angst that we all go through. But others do not have it so well. Over the past 5 years, we have seen far too many teens dealing with issues like abuse, bullying, rape, depression, cutting, pregnancy, STDs, suicide attempts, drug and alcohol addiction and more. These issues are real, they’re serious, and these kids need a safe place where they can find acceptance, guidance and hope.
Eastside Teen Outreach has been that safe place for them. Since we began our ministry, I can’t count the number of young lives that have changed for the better. Teens are learning to respect themselves, learning to rise above their circumstances, learning that their situation is temporary and that there is hope for their lives. We’ve watched teens go from being on the verge of dropping out of high school to not only finishing, but going on to the military and/or college. We’ve watched depression turn in to joy. We’ve watched dysfunction turn in to a sense of destiny. We’ve seen teens freed from addiction. We’ve watched as broken lives have become whole. It is truly amazing to watch young lives transform for the better once they realize they are important and that they are loved.
I’m riding to Hell and Back to honor those teens we serve who’ve been to Hell and Back in their own way so many times. I’m riding to bring awareness to the epidemic of bullying, the epidemic of teen dating violence, the epidemic of teen substance abuse, pregnancy, depression, abuse, cutting, and suicide attempts. I’m riding to raise the needed funds to continue our “Heroes” support group for bullied teens. I’m riding for our “Freedom” support group for addicted teens and teens living with addiction. I’m riding for the teens we serve at our Thursday “Tribe” outreach. I’m riding to expand our services to include tutoring, job training recreational activities, and more issue driven support groups.
Will you stand with me and support the teens at ETO? You’re invited to ride with me! Just go to our Crowd Rise To Hell & Back 2015 Event Page to register, and then be sure to take some nice long practice rides! It’s a long trip!
Or visit my Crowd Rise To Hell & Back page to support the “To Hell & Back” ride, or call me at 586-260-8323 to discuss how you can help ETO make a difference in the lives of our youth.
Doug Trocino, Executive Director
Eastside Teen Outreach