Tinker Cooper, Executive Director of Families Against Drugs (FAD), formed this nonprofit organization after her son died from a drug overdose in Orange County, Florida. Originally, FAD was a support group for parents who have lost a child to a drug overdose because these deaths are perceived by society and law enforcement as less significant than a death by any other means. FAD also includes family members of loved ones who are in a come, jail, rehab or still using drugs, as well as members of various law enforcement agencies.
Cooper met Sherri Lee under adverse conditions when Lee became a member of FAD. Lee has recently lost her only child, Robert, to a heroin overdose that occurred the day before his 19th birthday. Robert was a first-time user. The fatal incident happened at a going away party for him as he was leaving for the Marines.
With Lee’s help, FAD has expanded to include education of young people and parents about the destructive and deadly consequences of drug use. Lee has since become the Vice President of FAD and Cooper’s right arm. She manages the business aspect of the group and publicly speaks at schools, churches, jails, rehabs and organizations. Whatever there is to be done, Lee handles it. Despite her demanding career as the Vice President of a major advertising firm, and becoming the new mother of a baby girl born 21 years after her deceased brother, Lee has been a major factor in helping FAD raise five times the amount of money that was raised last year.
Lee does more in the community beyond the role she plays in FAD. Raised in poverty and being an abused child, Lee is involved in the Take Stock in Children program, mentoring young people and encouraging them to stay in school. She tells the story of her childhood, marriage and motherhood at the tender age of 16. She talks about the abuse from her first marriage and how she found the courage and strength to improve her life and the life of her child. She explains that through perseverance and education, one can rise above their circumstances and become successfull and happy.
Lee is also a volunteer in the Dividends Program in Seminole County Public Schools, Florida, teaching a variety of subjects to broaden the horizons of impressionable young people. These subjects include marketing, ancient Chinese art & culture, and ancient Egyptian history.
Sherri Lee is also her own “Secret Santa.” She selects one needy family per year and provides Christmas presented for the entire family. The only things she asks in return is that these families do the same for another needy family once they are financially able to do so.