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Dear SADD Nation,

Poet Sarah Cueto once wrote, "Don't stop until you're proud." With great pride in our organization and the work accomplished, I’m saddened to share that I will be leaving SADD after nine years on staff, five as the CEO, to serve as the Highway Safety Officer for the District of Columbia.

As a freshman in high school, I attended my first SADD Meeting. My advisors, Mrs. Cromwell and Mrs. Strozdas, grew my passion for the organization, mobility safety, and peer-to-peer prevention. I'm proud of the fact that together we have broadened the organization's focus to highlight the issues students face today.

Together, we have elevated the organization to make SADD the premier student health and safety organization. Through media campaigns, evidence-informed programs, and community activism, our students have changed their communities, their states, and our nation to make our world a safer place for us all. Our partnerships have expanded, strengthened, and deployed.

We have assembled the greatest team of prevention advocates in the SADD staff, and I watch in awe as they crush our goals and expand the horizon of what we see as possible in prevention. There are still many challenges to face and young people to empower, and I'm so proud to pass the torch to the next generation of leadership to continue SADD's mission.

I'm proud to share that Jessica Hugdahl, our current Director of Finance and Administration, will assume the role of Interim Executive. In this role, she will guide the organization forward by directing staff, overseeing operations, and supporting the Board as the organization prepares for the next season of leadership. Jessica is no stranger to SADD and has a personal story of why this organization matters to her. This month, she will celebrate her 25th anniversary of working for SADD. She has served as our Arizona State Coordinator, Director of Field Operations, Manager of the National Conference, leader of the SLC, and much more. You may reach her any time at

SADD Nation is a movement and a passion, one that you do not leave. I look forward to cheering you on as you continue your work to empower, engage, mobilize, and change.

With gratitude,

Rick Birt

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