By Nancy KrizCENTRAL VALLEY — It may be spring break week in the Monroe-Woodbury School District, but that's not stopping a group of parents from continuing with plans to support the forthcoming Monroe-Woodbury CARES Day at Monroe-Woodbury High School.A parents group, chaired by Monroe resident Lyn Cear, is busy putting together plans to assist with the day, and is currently focusing on fund raising for catering needs."This is one of our roles," said Cear about the CARES Catering Committee (CCC). "The list of requirements is very long, and not limited to supplies. It's all kinds of things."The committee's work is another example of the growing numbers of people getting involved in the Oct. 26 day to promote compassion, acceptance, respect, empowerment and success - or CARES - at the high school. Months of planning have already set up more than 100 speakers - including those recognized nationally - who will present during the day which models attending a conference. Organizers felt it was important to bring in speakers of a national caliber in addition to local and regional presenters. Providing the keynote address to freshmen and sophomores is former WWE wrestling champion Marc Mero, who will speak about bullying, peer pressure, substance abuse and suicide prevention. Mero reached the pinnacle of sports-entertainment success then lost it all. He will talk to students about the importance of their life choices. Former Miss USA Tara Conner is the keynote speakers for juniors and seniors. She will speak about addiction, stigmas and recovery. Conner is an actress, model and advocate who also competed in the Miss Teen USA and Miss Universe pageants. She's also struggled with drug and alcohol addiction. A variety of topicsLike a national conference, students will be given the opportunity to pick the workshops they are interested in attending. Workshop presenters will share their experiences with alcohol and drug dependence and subsequent recovery, growing up in “dysfunction,” being victims of bullying, child abuse or sexual abuse, as parents of children who committed suicide, living with AIDS or depression, overcoming physical handicaps and birth defects, surviving cancer, being severely burned or in an accident, dealing with the consequences of life-altering mistakes and many more."These tough topics impact everyone, children, adults and families, " said Cear, who is a managing partner with Deloitte LLP. "These types of unique learning events will help shape our children because they're our future. I believe this will help them to be more well-rounded and to be successful in life. "The district is investing in our children in a different way, bar none, that's incredible," Cear added. "This is 'a need,' it's not 'a want.' You don't have to have a child in the high school to understand the importance of a day like this."Learning that empowers children to be kindSpeakers will also include survivors or families of the deceased of U.S. and foreign acts of terrorism, U.S. mass shootings and genocidal mass slaughter, including the Rwandan Genocide and the Holocaust.There will be speakers who are Sept. 11, survivors, parents of children murdered at Sandy Hook, a Boston Marathon bombing survivor, a Virginia Tech shooting survivor, an Israeli suicide bomber survivor, an Aurora, Colorado, movie theater shooting survivor, a family member of the Charleston, South Carolina church shooting and Holocaust survivors and liberators, among others."This type of learning, it just empowers our children to be kind," said Cear. "That's one of my primary drivers, along with awareness. I feel strongly that a day like this, an event like, this, can also directly correlate to prevention. I'm also very excited with the great leadership (for the day) and an awesome group of educators and parents who are paying it forward. That's always been my mantra."As a parent, Cear hopes other high school parents will start having conversations about the day, like she's already had with her daughter. "I've told her the details of the day," Cear said. "My biggest 'ask' is that all of our families are talking about these tough topics now, before the day. And more importantly after the day, continue that dialogue with their children. She's had lots of questions, which is kind of cool. They need to hear these things and be aware. They're tough topics, I call them courageous conversations. It's the world we live in today, it's a different type of learning too, so I'm excited about that."The community can helpCear hopes as the committee works its way around the five towns served by the school district, businesses will be open to the idea of being a part of the day with financial or in-kind support. "The community can help the school to be a better place and its students to be better people, that's the end game," said Cear. "One of my ultimate goals is that Monroe-Woodbury serves as a model for other districts to make those same investment. I think we're on to something big. If we look forward five years, this could be part of a regular curriculum. That's my hope."To learn more about supporting to the day, call Cear at 917-692-7248 or email to: firstname.lastname@example.org.