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The Nation's Premier Youth Health & Safety Organization
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The Nation's Premier Youth Health & Safety Organization
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Guest Opinion: An opportunity to positively influence a new generation with SADD

Guest Opinion: An opportunity to positively influence a new generation with SADD

By Dawn Teixeira

Posted Mar. 7, 2015 at 12:00 PM

I’ve been president and CEO of SADD for a little over a week, during which time the board and staff have been sharing with me 34 years of institutional history: the intricate network of partners, supporters, state coordinators, and chapters; our national legislative and programmatic priorities; current research; the internal workings of a small but effective team in the national office; the powerful new strategic plan; our lofty goals; and our plans to advance all of our good work in progress. Whew! Here are some of my thoughts and reactions.

This is not the SADD I knew in high school!

What do you remember about SADD? Mock car crashes during prom season? Students against driving drunk? Well, that was the SADD of yesteryear. Today, SADD is a complex and dynamic organization leading the way on the subject of the health and safety of our nation’s youth.

In 1981, students in Wayland were moved to respond to the loss of several friends. Learning about the high death rate of young people due to drinking and driving across the country (almost 100 per week!), they took matters into their own hands and founded SADD. In their first decade of work raising and awareness and advocating for changes in government policy and law, the rate of teen (drunken driving) deaths by alcohol on the highway dropped by almost 60 percent — a significant achievement. By then, however, the number of critical issues facing students had multiplied, and SADD stepped up to address them.

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