Testimonials describe what has been and are a promise of what is to come.

 Ron Kaufman

A MUST see presentation for EVERYONE who has or will have children or grandchildren attending college! What you don’t know CAN kill you! Be sure to bring tissues because tears won’t be optional, for men or for women!

Rod Harris

Reverse Mortgage Consultant & Friend


I can’t thank you enough for taking the time to speak with both of my classes. I can imagine that sharing your story is both difficult and healing. I lost my brother to cancer this past September and I have watch the pain my parents have gone through. I am sincerely sorry that you have experience such terrible pain and loss.

You are making a difference. There will be students who will remember your words and it will help them to make better choices. Thank you for the nice letter to Riley. I will pass it along to him today.

When I know my class schedule for next year I will be in contact. Thank you again for all that you have done for my students and continue to do for others.

Best wishes!


May 19, 2016, Cal High, San Ramon, CA

I am deeply sorry for your loss.. Thank you for such a great presentation, I appreciate you giving your time and having the courage to warn us on such a huge harm that’ll be impacting us in the near future!

Jerico Gonzales

High School Senior touched by AHA! Movement

Hi Debbie,

Just a quick note of thanks for speaking to our club on last Wednesday. Your ears should be burning, because our club has been abuzz with positive remarks about your presentation. We all felt it was very interesting and informative!

We all lead very busy lives and we wanted you to know that we really appreciated you taking the time out to speak to us!

I also wanted to extend the offer of joining us in the future as my guest when you have an opportunity. I know we would all appreciate the opportunity to get to know you better.


Concord Rotary Presentation

Rotary Club of Pleasant Hill

“The Aha Movement has a vital message for all college students, high schoolers, and their parents. The message is clear, moving, and important. With information we have power. Thank you, wholeheartedly, to Debbie Smith for turning her own personal tragedy into a teaching opportunity for all of us. Hazing and bullying in all forms is unacceptable in today’s world! Happy to stand with you.”

Jennifer Gross

President, Rotary Club of Pleasant Hill

As a member of the Rotary Club of Pleasant Hill, I have to say you were one of the best speakers ever and I look forward to having you back with us.

Allen Vinson

March 2, 2016

Thank you, Debbie, for your very important presentation to our Rotary Club today. Hazing has never had a place in fraternities and your work will save lives and help young people mature and focus on what fraternities are meant for—fellowship and leadership development.

Steven Lack

August 20, 2015

CSUSM Students at our Be Aware Program’s Survey Answers / Testimonials

“I was surprised to hear how the hazing started with things that may not sound as serious to something gnarly that eventually killed a student.”

“I was really impacted by the student’s mom being there and how she didn’t start speaking about this until this year. “

“I learned that not just Greek life has been guilty of hazing but other orgs too.”

“The most impactful part of me was the story of her son and his hazing experience. It definitely stuck with me.”

Alpha Xi Delta - Members

“It was most impactful seeing his family present and actually advocate for fraternities.”

Sigma Chi

“The most impactful part was when the mother shared about her son. Made me tear up a bit.”

SAE - Member

“I enjoyed listening to their point of view on the issue”

“I was surprised to hear the statistics of people who are hazed.”

“I learned the different ways that hazing can occur I always thought it was just physical.”

“It was great to hear about and become educated on this topic.”

“I think listening to the speaker tell the story of her son really made it a lot more impactful.”

Alpha Omicron Pi - Members

“I was most impacted by her story and how she handled it.”

“I learned how hazing doesn’t discriminate.”

Track & Field

“I enjoyed the entire presentation. I thought having the family there who was a victim to hazing and told their story made this presentation more impactful.”

“I learned that hazing is happening throughout all organizations, not just sports and Greek life.”

Women’s Cross Country

“I enjoyed hearing the anecdote about the boy not speaking up; we learned from his flaws to be open with our parents and not hide our emotions.”

“I learned to find alternative ways to form a “cohesive bonding culture” instead of humiliating the members of a fraternity or sorority.”

“I was surprised to learn that hazing takes place all the time.”

“I enjoyed listening about how fraternities and sororities are putting a stop to hazing. The most impactful part was hazing the victims mom speak.”

“One thing that surprised me was that hazing can kill people.”

“The pictures were very impactful. It’s one thing to hear about the problem. It’s another to see the impact.”

“I honestly felt they provided a great amount of info on all their topics.”

Women’s Golf

“I most enjoyed learning how to handle a situation of hazing responsibly and how we can tak a bigger stand against hazing all around the country”

“I was impacted by how the mom was able to forgive the boys for hazing her son.”

“I enjoyed the personal experiences and connections they made.”

“I was impacted by the presentation about the man from Chico State.”

“I did not know the definition of hazing and how it is different from bullying.”

Baseball Club

“I enjoyed how strong his mother was and the most impactful portion was when she shared his story.”

“The speakers kept everything engaged and interesting.”

“I was most impacted by the part when the mom talked about how even though she was hurt about what happened to her son she still forgave the people.”

“I never realized how many people die from hazing.”

“I learned that girls get hazed just as often as boys do and that it could happen not just in sororities or fraternity’s but in clubs as well.”

Dance Club

“How much hazing really affects people and what classifies as hazing really surprised me.”

“I enjoyed how dedicated the speaker was sharing her sons story, trying to pevent others from being killed.”

“I did not know you could die from drinking too much water.”

“I was surprised to learn that hazing was that widely spread around college organizations.”

“I never knew the difference between hazing and bullying.”

Men’s Lacrosse Club

“The most impactful part was that the family of the hazing victim were the presenters.”

“I learned that many individuals experience hazing, not just a small group. I also learned all of the different types of hazing as well as what the difference between hazing and bullying is.”

“I felt like all of the content kept me engaged and open to knowledge.”

“I enjoyed the speakers. They were fun, effective, and powerful.”

“The first hand experience portrayed by a victim’s mother was the most impactful.”

“I think I just gained a deeper understanding on how much it can effect those close to people affected by hazing.”

Surf Club

“I like when students were able to ask questions.”

“Hearing Matthew’s story touched me.”

“The disturbing images were very impactful.”

“I enjoyed how she related it to her personal son.”

“Your stories made it more real for me.”

“The speakers were very open and welcoming and spoke in a way that kept me interested.”

“I learned that hazing Is one of the most dangerous incidents that occurs at universities.”

“The speakers all made the presentations more powerful because they had personal connections with the individual who died due to hazing. It mad me realize the aftermath an event like this can have up close and personal.”

“The slideshow was both important and made the biggest impact on me. To see everything people do to others and see how the life of someone so your was taken really opens my eyes.”

“I enjoyed hearing the personal stories from the speakers. They also impacted me the most because you could hear the passion and love they had held. You can hear how hard it is for them even now, so many years later.

“It was easy to stay engaged because of the energy and sometimes intensity in certain cases. I feel like I was open to the knowledge because I know if that were my child I would feel the same about the need to stop it.”

Women’s Lacrosse Club

“I liked that they spoke from experience and weren’t trying to force anything towards us.”

“What I enjoyed most about the presentation was how interactive it was. Each story and fat that was shared were very impactful.”

“I honestly did not know that this type of hazing was still present in our society today and there are various forms of hazing.”

“I learned that hazing could come to those who you never thought it would hit.”

“Hearing how forgiving Matt’s mother was, was very touching. She turned something so negative into something that is so positive with the AHA! Movement.”

“I have never heard of hazing before this presentation so everything was new to me.”

Women’s Soccer Club