Because the tree is a symbol of life, the Tree of Life activity focuses on the positive message of living a life free of the hazards and heartache of involvement with alcohol and other drugs. The activity can also be combined with a candlelight vigil to remember those who have died or have been injured in an alcohol-related crash and to remember others you wish to have a safe holiday season.
Ideally, a live tree, strung with white lights, would be used to signify life. A local florist or garden center may allow your SADD chapter to borrow one for this activity. If a live tree is not available, you could create a paper mache tree, a wall tree, or a tree of your own design.
Choose a prominent place to display your tree. The school foyer, library and cafeteria are good locations. A live tree outside on your school grounds would also work well. Many SADD chapters have done their Tree of Life and Candlelight Vigil in an outside area in their community or in a more public place suchg as the local mall.
Be sure to display a large sign identifying yourself and your activity. To decorate your tree, you may choose to use the card shown here; there is space to include a message. You could also choose to use a candle or a star which may also be personalized. The gift of a lifetime activity may be used as a fund-raiser by charging a small donation for each card or item to be hung on the tree.
Do lots of publicity for your event. Invite the local media to visit the activity and to take pictures. Invite the mayor, selectmen, school board members and other local officials to participate. Ask local elementary school students to make cards to bring to hang on the tree.
The Tree of Life and Candlelight Vigil are great ways to bring the issue of impaired driving to the forefront during one of the most dangerous times of the year.
Remember: Every 53 minutes someone in this country dies in an alcohol-related crash. We must do everything possible to stop these senseless tragedies.