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Kyle Hawker
Kyle's last photo taken at his
sister’s wedding the week
before he died (March 2005).
Did You Know?

Approximately 2/3 of teenagers who drink buy their own alcohol.

Use of alcohol is associated with the leading causes of death and injury among teenagers and young adults.

Alcohol use at an early age is an indicator of future drug and alcohol problems.

Alcohol is involved in almost two thirds of the sexual assault and date rape cases among teens and college students.

Students with grade point averages of D or F drink 3 times as much as those who earn A’s.

Among teenagers who “binge” drink 39 percent say they drink alone; 58 percent drink when they are upset; 30 percent drink when they are bored; and 37 percent drink to feel high.

Almost half of college students who said they had been victims of crime admitted they had used drugs or alcohol before the crime occurred.

240,000 to 360,000 of current college students will eventually die of alcohol-related causes. That’s comparable to the entire undergraduate body of the Big Ten dropping dead!

32% of teens said they have gone further sexually while drinking than they would
have sober.

10% of teens admit that they have driven drunk.

41% of teens say their parents are aware that they drink.

Statistics taken from:
Maryland Underage Drinking Prevention
Teen People, June/July 2005, pg. 144.

Related Links:

Girls Gone Wild, Saved By Grace: Meet Kristin and Allison

What the Bible Says About Alcohol and Alcoholism

More teen articles in's Youth section


Make It Home Tonight

By Shelly Hawker
As told to Julie Ferwerda – “Don’t get into a vehicle with someone who’s under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Don’t do it!!” The pretty auburn-haired woman stood in front of the classroom full of teens, pleading with them not to make the same mistake her son had made just six weeks ago.

On March 27, 2005, only two weeks before his eighteenth birthday, Kyle Hawker made the decision to drive home drunk from a party he was attending with his high school friends. Only a few blocks from home, he lost control of his car on a curve and careened into a canal. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

And now his mother, Shelly, is already sharing a message with as many teens as possible, hoping to reach them before they make the same devastating mistakes. That is why she talked with most of Kyle’s friends just hours after he died. That is why she is sharing her heart with you right now.

Shelly’s Message To You

The day we buried Kyle, I wanted to put myself in the grave with him because that’s how much it hurt. There’s a hole in my life that will never, never be filled. You don’t ever want to have to put your friends or your parents through this. Please learn a lesson from my son.

Kyle really struggled throughout his teen years with alcohol. Starting around fourteen, he began drinking to cover up emotional pain in his life. Very quickly he developed a drinking problem and the faith he professed as a younger child got pushed to the back seat. Even though he had spent a year and a half in alcohol rehab, he hadn’t yet come to the point where he was ready to give it up. He knew alcohol was ruining his life and he hated it, but like any addiction, he also felt like he needed it. He was enslaved to it. As his family, we all saw and felt his torment. Kyle certainly didn’t want to die as young as he was, but he made the choice to leave this world, by drinking and driving. That was a wrong choice.

I want you to know that Kyle wasn’t a bad kid. He was very giving and loved his friends more than he loved himself. And when he messed up, he’d go to his older sister and brother in tears and say “I messed up again!” The battle was constantly pulling at him. Ever since his junior high years, and maybe even before, Kyle had some deep hurts and struggles in his life that he wouldn’t share with others and tried to handle on his own.

You can’t do that. Don’t try to handle things on your own. Get help. What you do with your desperation and pain is going to mark the rest of your life. Kyle kept a part of his life to himself that he wouldn’t let God or anyone else in to help him with. He wasn’t ready to turn all of himself over to God. That doesn’t work with God. You have to go all the way with God because whatever part you keep to yourself is going to self-destruct. God knows you completely and He loves you unconditionally. He knows exactly what you need to be a whole person and He is waiting for you to give it all to Him so that He can heal you.

The human tendency in dealing with pain is to anesthetize our pain with whatever — busyness, T.V., alcohol, drugs, food, sports — but it doesn’t work. Like Kyle, if you don’t allow God to deal with your pain, it will eat you up. Satan will use it to drive you further away from God . Eventually it will ruin your life and your relationships.

Maybe things could have been different for Kyle if he had really understood the ways that Satan worked to ruin his life. Maybe your life could be different too. The Bible says that Satan comes to “steal, kill, and destroy.” Satan accomplishes this through the lies he gets you to believe.

Satan lied to Kyle, and he lies to you too. He’s the biggest liar in the world. He is going to say, “Jesus can’t really do all that for you. It won’t hurt to take a little drink. It won’t hurt to use some drugs or ride home with this person. You don’t have to listen to your parents. God doesn’t care about you and He doesn’t want you to have any fun.”

You have a choice of what you are going to believe. Are you going to believe the truth or the lies? God does care about you, so much that He sent His own Son to be put to death in your place. God doesn’t want to take away your fun; He wants to save your life. Hopefully your parents want you to grow up to be a successful person with a meaningful life, that’s why they try to help you make good decisions. Jesus can do even more than you can ask or imagine — He is big enough to get you free. Taking one little drink, using one little drug, or riding home just once with that person who’s been drinking could be the end of your life. That’s the truth. It happens every day.

Know this too. Satan isn’t the only one lying to you. You can’t trust those friends”
who influence you to do bad things. Don’t look up to older kids, or movie stars, or athletes as heroes. Jesus Christ is the only hero you should look up to. You’ve got to tell Him you don’t want to live this way anymore. Ask Him to help you take a stand against the evil in this world. He’s the One who’s here. He’s the One who can help you. No matter how many people seek Him, God misses you and He’s waiting to have a relationship with you. When the Lord speaks, you have to be ready to listen. You have to find a quiet place to listen, away from the noise of the world, and He will come and talk with you. The best high you can get is from the Lord, not from drugs and alcohol. Others will leave you, but Jesus will never leave you.

I loved my son with all my heart, much like your parents love you. But remember that there is Someone who loves you even more. In John 3:16 it says that God gave His Son so that we could have eternal life, and Kyle believed that. I am so very thankful that there was a point in Kyle’s life that he did make the decision to put his faith in Jesus as his Savior. Jesus didn’t die for some people. He died for everyone, including you. You have to make the decision of whether you are going to believe in Jesus and accept His gift of eternal life or not.

One thing is certain. We are all going to die. We are all going to leave this world. Kyle didn’t make it back to his house that night, but because of one decision — the most important decision he ever made — he made it “home.” And now, you too have the chance to invite Him into your life. One right decision made from your heart and Jesus will be waiting for you to come home to eternal life.

John 14:27 -
”Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid."

Signs & Symptoms: Do You Have a Drinking Problem?

Contrary to what many people think, a drinking problem doesn’t mean you have to be a passed out drunk living in an alley somewhere. Most alcoholics can look “normal” to the casual observer. If you or one of your friends have one or more of these symptoms, seek help before it’s too late.

• Inability to control your drinking—it seems that regardless of what you decide
beforehand, you frequently wind up drinking too much

• Using alcohol to escape your problems

• Changing from your usual character into ‘’life of the party”

• A change in personality—does drinking turn you from Dr. Jekyl to Mr. Hyde?

• A high tolerance level—you can drink just about everyone under the table

• Blackouts—sometimes you don’t remember what happened when you were drinking

• Problems at work or at school as a result of drinking

• Concern shown by your family and friends about your drinking

For more great information, quiz questions, first-person stories, interaction with other teens, decision games, and links to treatment resources, check out this website:

For Christian-based resources and help, go to:

Visit Julie Ferwerda's Web site at

Visit's Youth section.


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