Contact:
Deborah Burke Henderson, SADD, (508) 481-3568

SADD HOLDS 2003 NATIONAL CONFERENCE IN PHILADELPHIA

Students Against Destructive Decisions Names New Leadership Board; Achievement Awards go to Bill Cosby and Louisiana’s Col. James Champagne

Four Day Conference Includes Participation in "Clean and Green" Project with City

PHILADELPHIA - July 10, 2003 - Hundreds of youth leaders from SADD chapters across the county will converge this week on Philadelphia for the 18th annual SADD National Conference. Four days of seminars and activities will focus on teaching teens to avoid the perils of poor decision making, assist their peers in resisting drugs and alcohol and advance the organization which currently has more than 10,000 chapters in schools in all 50 states.

SADD will also officially induct its 2003-2004 Student Leadership Council, a group of 12 students who are responsible for helping lead the organization, creating and providing input on new programming, and representing SADD on regional and national levels. The Student Leadership Council is led by SADD’s National Student of the Year Molly Linn from Atlanta, Indiana.

"We could not be more excited about the group of students joining us this year, the program we have created, and the support of the City and the Mayor’s office," said Penny Wells, president and executive director of Marlborough, Massachusetts-based SADD National. "These student leaders understand better than anyone the increasing challenges to today’s teens, and they take a very active role in being ambassadors for SADD, bringing the message to their peers about the dangers and often unintended consequences of underage drinking, drug use and other dangerous activities."

The program will include an extensive series of workshops aimed at providing more than 450 students, teachers and state coordinators information in areas such as underage drinking, ecstasy and other club drugs, the increasing problems of drugs and alcohol in middle schools, dating violence, and creating strong service learning projects.

Turning their training into direct action, the conferees will spend a half day working with Philadelphia Housing Authority and the office of Mayor John F. Street, planting trees and shrubs and cleaning litter and graffiti in neighborhoods in North Philadelphia. The program is part of the Philadelphia Neighborhood Transformation Initiative, a citywide program aimed at strengthening communities.

The conference will conclude with an awards ceremony that will honor three individuals who have dedicated substantial time and resources campaigning for children and teens and have been effective spokespersons for positive decision making. The 2003 SADD National Board of Directors Awards will include:

Lifetime Achievement Award

This award is given to that individual or group that has consistently advanced the interests of safety of young people, thereby directly benefiting the members of SADD chapters across the country. The Lifetime Achievement Award recognizes the achievement in advancing SADD’S objectives or through their work a persistent revisiting of the themes of SADD: teens and alcohol, drugs, violence, and other risky behaviors. This year’s award will be presented to Mr. Bill Cosby.

The Outstanding Contribution Award

This award is given to that individual or group who, in the recent past, has made a contribution that stands out in size, creativity, sacrifice or commitment to SADD or to the themes of SADD. This year’s award will be presented to Colonel Jim Champagne, Executive Director/Governor’s Highway Safety Representative, for the Louisianna Highway Safety Commission, for his nearly 30 years of service in preventing highway deaths. Marilena Amoni, Associate Administrator of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, will participate in making the award.

The SADD Distinguished Service Award

This award is given to those individuals or groups who have served SADD with dedication and commitment, either over a sustained period of time or in a single, significant contribution. This year’s award will be given to Ms. Donna McBride who worked with SADD for more than 15 years at the local level, first as a volunteer in Phoenix, Arizona and later as Arizona State Coordinator, and finally as SADD National Director of Field Services for the Western Region. Highly decorated for her efforts, Ms. McBride has worked extensively to combat underage drinking and creating a state-wide student board of directors to bring SADD programs to schools across Arizona.

The awards will be presented in a formal ceremony Sunday, July 13, from 6-8 pm at the Doubletree Hotel in Philadelphia.

SADD is the nation’s leading youth empowerment and prevention organization, with 10,000 chapters in middle schools, high schools and colleges across the country. A peer leadership organization, SADD is dedicated to preventing destructive decisions, particularly underage drinking, other drug use, impaired driving, and teen violence.

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