It was a Wellness Day like no other.

Anti-Racism Workshop

 Wellness Day 

Students listened raptly as Frank Meeink talked, rapid-fire, about his life. He grew up ashamed of being on food stamps, abused by his stepfather, and afraid of the other students in his all-black school.

A trip to visit an older cousin introduced him to skinheads.    

“Being a skinhead is not about ideology," said Meeink. "It’s about belonging.”

By age 18, Meeink was roaming the country as a neo-Nazi recruiter. He tattooed a swastika on his neck and hosted a TV show called “The Reich.”

In prison — convicted of kidnapping and beating a member of a rival skinhead gang — he befriended men he once hated. Slowly, his world view — and life — changed. His best friend in prison was a young black man. When Meeink was released from prison, a Jewish man gave him a job. Today he travels the country speaking about tolerance.

Opioid Awareness Workshop

 Wellness Day 

John Jay's auditorium was absolutely silent after Stephen Hill's opening video. In it, his brothers and parents speak about the anguish caused by his transformation from a stellar athlete and good student to an opioid addict and drug dealer with a police record. 

“I have three successful brothers. We did everything exactly the same way,” said Hill. “Why did I become an addict? I was born with the disease of addiction. I always progress to more.”

Hill had already been in and out of rehab programs his doctor prescribed OxyContin for the pain when he broke his femur.

“That drug will take you down very quickly,” said Hill. 

He hit rock bottom and entered a year-long treatment program in 2012. Slowly but surely, Hill began to put his life back together. He is now in law school and shares his journey to sobriety with high school students.