By Luca Gross
Young people are the driving force behind not-for-profit organizations such as SADD, formerly known as Mothers against Drunk Driving, then Students Against Drunk Driving and now Students Against Destructive Decisions. They have started student-run chapters across the nation.
The mission of SADD is to educate and motivate students and adults to make better decisions and utilize proper leadership to bring positive change. The way they plan on achieving this goal is through student run organizations or clubs at colleges and high schools around the country to create a network of reliable leaders.
“Our main focus is on the effects of drugs and alcohol and all those related destructive problems,” Kevin Dufour, SADD vice president, said. Dufour is majoring in criminal justice and minoring in Spanish.
Freshman Isabella Cook is the president of SADD and has been participating since seventh grade. She is a criminal justice major with a minor in environmental science.
“Cook has gone to many different state-wide SADD events. If anyone ever has any questions regarding SADD, she would be able to answer them,” Dufour said.
There are resources on the SADD website for mobility safety, substance abuse prevention and personal health and safety. There is also information available on the national conferences held for clubs all around the country, scholarships and awards given to students by supporters of the club, and even how to start a chapter in case your area does not have one. Parents and adult allies have access to a range of resources as well.
SADD aims to be a community aide, rooted deep in the connections of the community. A student-run operation in colleges and high schools is the organization’s way of doing that. Peer-to-peer education allows the promotion of healthy decision-making throughout life.
“SADD is something that can bring the community together and give them all a goal to work toward. We are here to help in any way we can, whether that’s donations or just being there if anyone needs someone to talk to,” Dufour said.
This movement is also a safe space for all those who seek to increase the health and safety of their communities. The skills and experience gained through SADD promotes great leadership within the members of the community.
The organization holds many events in the name of raising awareness to mental health and other issues, as well as fundraising and food drives. Once a year there is a SADD Conference where all the chapters meet and participate in larger events and even fundraising. There are two conferences, one for the state of NY and the chapters within, another for the whole nations chapters.
“We hold many events and activities along with fundraising events to help the overall community.” Dufour said.
The club holds an annual football game with a twist, the boys are the cheerleaders and the girls play. This year it will be a game of rugby.
“This is an extremely fun event and lets us do fundraising, while also engaging with the community and just generally having an all-around fun time,” Dufour said.