Jonathan was born in Pittsburgh, Pa, along with his twin brother, Michael, on July 30, 1991. It was a long awaited and joyous day. From the very beginning, Jonathan had a spirit that was full of life and rearing to go. Along with his brother, we moved around the country, finally putting down roots in Malvern Pa, a suburb of Philadelphia. It was there that Jonathan grew up a fun loving, athletic boy. He and Michael loved playing together, with friends, and enjoyed playing all kinds sports and activities, including, snowboarding, football, basketball, baseball and lacrosse. When the twins were 10 years old, we were finally blessed with another son, Matthew. Together, our family couldn’t have been happier.
As parents, we were always involved in school activities and sporting events. Dad was a volunteer coach and mom was always the team and homeroom mom. Over the years, the boys developed a wonderful, solid group of friends and they all spent countless hours at our home. We grew close to the boy’s friends and their families. We enjoyed taking part in the many activities and sporting events that occurred throughout middle and high school. In other words, we were a very normal, involved and loving family. Drug addiction could never happen to one of our children…….
We couldn’t have been more mistaken. Somewhere along the path from childhood to young adult, Jonathan’s life took a wrong turn, gradually and unnoticed for awhile. Through high school and into college, he not only had a number of surgeries that prescribed pain medications, but he experimented with drugs, too. It is hard to say where one ends and the other begins. All that matters is by his sophomore year of college, he was addicted to opiates. Eventually, the prescription pills got to be too expensive and he switched to using heroin, a typical progression of the disease. We had no idea what the disease of addiction meant but we knew we had a big problem. He tried medical management, rehabilitation, transitional living, counseling, AA meetings and found a wonderful sponsor. Jonathan was committed to getting his life back. He didn’t want to be addicted. He worked two jobs and planned to return to school next semester. Unfortunately, he had a disease that stole his ability to choose to stop using the drugs. As we learned, addiction is a psychological and physical dependence on a substance that is beyond voluntary control. Addiction creates actual physical changes in the nerve cells of the brain and therefore, no longer functions the same the way the normal brain functions. There are powerful cravings and severe physical distress without the substance.
The sad and tragic end to Jonathan’s story needs to serve as a lesson to each and every one of us to never assume this couldn’t happen to your child. He was not a bad kid with a moral failing. He was an amazing young man with all the potential in the world, but sadly suffered with a horrible disease. Please join us, along with the loving memory of Jonathan, as we battle this disease and create a better understanding of drug and alcohol addiction.
Awareness, Compassion and Hope in action:
Since our inception, in 2014, with the generous support of family and friends, Steps4Hope is proud to have been able to assist in supporting the community in a variety of ways. We have awarded over $150,000 in donations, grants and scholarships. Pulling together and sharing the resources in our community is key to saving lives. A few of the local organizations Steps4hope has assisted with donations include:
~Angels in Motion - aimangelsinmotion.org
~The Bridge to Recovery Foundation - bridgetorecoveryfoundation.org
~Narcotics Overdose Prevention and Education - nopetaskforce.org
~Be a Part of the Conversation - conversation.zone
~The Adolescent Awareness Foundation - adolescentawarenessfoundation.org
~Baker Industries - bakerindustries.org
~Safe Harbor of Chester County - safeharborofgwc.org
~Great Valley High School Junior After Prom Party
~Caron Treatment Center - caron.org
~Great Valley Community Organization - GVCO.org
~Live4RJ - live4rj.com
~Angels Against Addiction - Angelsagainstaddiction.org
~The Phightin' Frankie Foundation -the-phightin-frankie-foundation
In addition, in 2015, 2016, and 2018, Steps4Hope awarded Malvern Preparatory School, Great Valley School District and Phoenixville Area School District with grants to bring Chris Herren, ex-NBA star and now inspirational speaker, to share his journey into the depths of drug addiction and remarkable rise back into recovery.
In 2016, Steps4Hope became a community partner with Be a Part of the Conversation and the Great Valley Community Organization. In collaboration with Be a Part of the Conversation, Steps4Hope sponsored a community event featuring Dr. Kevin McCauley, as he spoke about the science of addiction.
The 2015 Jonathan Moules Memorial Steps4Hope Scholarship was awarded to Great Valley senior, Laura Herzog.
The 2016 Jonathan Moules Memorial Steps4Hope Scholarship was awarded to Great Valley senior, Morgan Johnson.
In 2017, Steps4Hope established a scholarship with Healthy Habitats Recovery Living Community to provide resources for individuals in need of financial assistance early on in recovery. Steps4hope has awarded over $35,000 in financial aid to people in early recovery.
For Jonathan's Sake, a grief support group for parents that have lost a child to substance use disorder, was established in Fall, 2018
A Brother's Love, a live, online sibling support group, was established in 2018 to help those who have lost a brother or sister to the disease of addiciton.