Dawn Schiller has been travelling far and wide, speaking and signing copies of her book, The Road Through Wonderland: Surviving John Holmes. This book was a long time coming forth, the memories as hard for Dawn to deal with as it is for the reader to comprehend. However, Dawn Schiller did survive her teen relationship with porn star, John Holmes, and has reached a point in her life where just re-telling the past is not enough, she is reaching out to other “throwaway teens” so that they may be better equipped to make effective choices.
If you read The Road Through Wonderland you know that Dawn’s tumultuous family left her primed for a predator to take advantage of her, and that’s exactly what Holmes did. At 32, and the “king of porn” Holmes delicately groomed 15-year-old Dawn and kept her for himself. As reluctant as some are to believe, Holmes never exposed Dawn to the adult film industry, and she never participated in porn. Holmes did, however, expose Dawn to the underbelly of life through abuse, drug and alcohol addiction, and trafficking her on the streets.
The Road Through Wonderland more aptly tells the story of hundreds of thousands of teens who grew up in similar circumstances, left on the streets to fend for themselves and forming bonds with others in the same situation. They experience love in ways different than those growing up in a loving, nurturing home environment and can only grasp at snips of security. Dawn Schiller knows these teens, and what they are going through, too well.
To reach out, to show society that these troubled teens are not disposable, Dawn Schiller has formed the non profit, E.S.T.E.A.M., which hopes to work along side of communities throughout the nation to mentor and empower these teens and help them grow into successful adults.
Schiller says on the E.S.T.E.A.M. website:
To think of images of kids beat down, used or thrown away should break our hearts. What a terrible feeling to be unwanted, not important enough to be asked what you might be thinking or feeling. No one to worry if you are scared or lonely…offer you safety without strings. We recycle our trash, but consider an unwanted teen unsalvageable. Why? They are our poets, artists, musicians, scholars, athletes, chemists, & thespians. They are worth more than the sky. They are all our children. Let’s embrace them.
Through many short term and long term programs dealing with the issues of mental health, substance abuse and homelessness, E.S.T.E.A.M. hopes to break the cycle for “throwaway teens” through education, awareness and community. Throwaway teens face distinctive obstacles either within their own families, or their “street” families, such as neglect, physical, sexual and emotional abuses and, many times, homelessness. Whether abandoned, forced to leave home, or leaving by their own choice, “throwaway teens” are not equipped to make the type of decisions they are often forced to make.
By establishing E.S.T.E.A.M., Dawn Schiller, the Founder, holds out a hand of hope to these young people, and aims to make a difference in their lives by showing them that someone cares for them, unlike her own situation and experience.
Visit the E.S.T.E.A.M. website often, join the discussion forum, be a part of the solution. www.empowerteens.com
To bring Dawn Schiller to your next event, school or community gathering, please contact: