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"Words to be Heard"

Edgar Snyder & Associates Scholarship Contest

Ayrinne Nicole Lewis

Ayrinne Nicole Lewis A SADD Week

I would like to write a proposal in the hope to help prevent underage drinking and drunk driving. My proposition's goal is to focus on hands-on learning. As studies have shown this technique easily benefits students' comprehension and learning abilities. I feel it is obvious that pre-teens and teenagers spend most of their time in school, making prevention programs in school a logical choice.

I propose a spirit week named SADD week; SADD stands for Students Against Destructive Decisions. This week would be run by the SADD club or committee in which they construct a week's worth of activities dealing with the prevention and harms of underage drinking and drunk driving in every class or gathering. During this week, each day contains a different activity that students are supposed to participate in.

Before and during this week, the SADD committee will advertise SADD week with vibrant and spirited posters while also promoting specialty t-shirts. The committee devises a motto for the week that appears on the shirts and posters, "Let SADD show you the 'SADD' effects of underage drinking and drunk driving… So you can have a happy future."

This special week begins on the first day of a normal school week. On Monday, students receive a pen-pal. On Tuesday of that week, students listen to pre-arranged speakers. On Wednesday, they are taken to a bumper cars course to learn about the effects of drunk driving. Then on Thursday, hired professional actors come to act out various real life situations and stories involving underage drinking and drunk driving. Finally, on Friday, the students have the opportunity to meet and talk with their pen pals through a controlled and safe environment. In addition to the last day of SADD week all students would receive their own specialty t-shirt along with custom-made SADD lanyards that obtain the SADD motto on them.

Monday consists of all students attending an assembly as soon as first period classes begin. At this assembly the SADD club shows a realistic presentation on the harms of underage drinking and drunk driving. Later the SADD club members and school staff members would conjoin and explain the activities for the week. After the assembly and the presentation, students return to their first period classes where they receive a pen-pal for the week. The purpose of the pen-pal is to have a willing participant that has been affected by underage drinking or drunk driving.

I feel it would be helpful if these pen-pals were people who had suffered the actions of other drivers who did not choose the right one. For instance, possible participants could be paraplegics and quadriplegics, people who had normal lives stolen from them by drunk drivers. Upon their assignments of people, they will receive a laptop for the day in which they use to chat with their pen-pal. To ensure the students' safety, all chat rooms are monitored by staff members throughout the school. In these "chats" students can talk and ask questions to their pen-pals about how they were affected by underage drinking or drunk driving. Lastly, at the end of the day there would be a final assembly presenting a guest speaker, preferably very optimistic and persuasive. He or she exhibits an incredibly up lifting, exhilarating speech about saying "NO" to alcohol.

On Tuesday, students would be sectioned off into groups of five to seven kids. In those groups they are assigned a special speaker; a person who had been personally affected by their own or someone else's destructive decisions for example, families that have lost children to drunk driving or survivors of these accidents. Students have the chance to directly discuss these situations with their assigned speaker. In time when the groups are done with their discussions the speakers will rotate to new groups to assure that each student had the opportunity to hear the individual's personal experiences.

Wednesday, students have the chance to experience drunk driving for themselves. The students are taken to a bumper cars course where they would be equipped with a bumper car and impairment goggles. They are told to keep track of how many people they hit and record it at the end. The students will wear impairment goggles while driving the bumper cars, giving them the feeling of driving drunk. When the activity is over the president of the SADD committee will talk with the students about their experience and tell them of the realization. The member reminisces with them about how many people they hit today while driving "drunk" and tells them that every person they hit was killed. In hopes that they will realize drunk driving is unsafe and deadly.

On Thursday, professional hired actors will perform in front of the student body. Personally, I feel the professionals should be hired by the state department of transportation and their job should be to permit them to tour the state showing pre-teens and teenagers the effects of destructive decisions. The actor's performances will contain real life experiences and stories. Their display will be as realistic as possible attempting to show the students the cruelty and evils of underage drinking and drunk driving.

Finally, Friday's activities will close with students having the opportunity to meet their pen-pals. They will have the chance to see their pen-pals in their natural surroundings, possibly showing students how these people physically and mentally were affected by other people's bad decisions. During this day, the students can interact with these people on a whole new level. They are given the ability to talk about so much more than just the participant's accident. My hope is for them to connect with that person, maybe make a new friend while also recognizing the harms of drunk driving. As the activity for Friday wraps up, students will begin to return to the school and receive SADD t-shirts and custom-made lanyards promoting SADD week.

My proposal helps prevent underage drinking and drunk driving through a spirited week of alcohol awareness. I have done so by choosing a hands-on technique, ensuring that students are involved and aware. By creating this plan the world has been assisted with a prevention program to achieve safety in America.