Posts Tagged ‘family’

Graduation: Party Safe, Party Sober

I have spent nearly four decades in rural Eastern Nebraska and Western Iowa as a principal, coach or   superintendent, and during this time, I have seen over 1600 students graduate from the four communities.  Graduation is one of the most exciting happenings in any family as it is for the school and community. However, graduation parties are a double edge sword for many, both in and out of education.  The parties are a celebration of this great event, but it appears for many that alcohol is a prerequisite. I question the need for alcohol at these important events as much as, if not more than, Tom Osborne has questioned the need for alcohol to watch  a sporting event.  There are too many young people around both the football game and the graduation party. The idea that alcohol is needed at either event sends a strong message to young people, and that message is clearly stronger than any of the advertisements against  underage drinking. If parents want to give a message to their child, let it be that our families and communities can do without alcohol at a graduation party. 

Submitted by Ed Rastovski, Retired Superintendent

I want to thank our board member for submitting this article and I appreciate that it is still relevant today.  As we prepare to watch many young adults step out into the world – let us collectively ensure that they all get the chance to enjoy life, live life and laugh.  They have the world by a sting!


PowerTalk 21™ day is the first annual day for parents and teens to start the conversation about alcohol. Governor Dave Heineman will be officially declaring April 21st PowerTalk 21day in Nebraska.

Governor Heineman and his wife, First Lady Sally Ganem, have made the health and safety of young Nebraskans a priority. Ganem, a MADD National Board Member, has worked throughout the state on initiatives that aim to reduce underage drinking. “The youth of Nebraska are one of our greatest resources, and it is our job as parents to keep them safe,” said Ganem. “I encourage parents to use PowerTalk 21 Day to have a conversation with their kids about alcohol.”

PowerTalk 21 day is intentionally positioned in advance of prom, graduation and other events around which teens may encounter alcohol, providing families with an opportunity to have an important conversation at what may be a critical time.

MADD, along with presenting sponsor Nationwide Insurance, trusts that April 21 will become widely known as the national day to talk about teens and alcohol. To that end, parents across the U.S. will be participating in Power of Parents, It’s Your Influence workshops and events held at community gatherings, schools, churches, partner organizations and various other groups leading up to and around April 21. 

 For more details on these workshops or for more information on how to schedule one in your community, please contact MADD Nebraska at (402)434-5330.

  Well the day finally arrived!  Here at MADD we are excited to show off our refreshed and revitalized brand.  All of us with MADD hope you are excited about the new look as we all are here in Nebraska.

Our Chief Executive Officer, Kimberly Earle, stated ” Elevating and engaging others in our mission is the first and foremost reason for all of these efforts. For nearly 31 years, MADD has worked hard to keep families safe. But our work is not done. Another 30 people die in drunk driving crashes every day in America, while one in three eighth graders has tried alcohol. And we continue to serve victims of drunk driving crashes, one every 10 minutes”.

Here at MADD we want to bring heightened awareness to the devastating effects of drunk driving and underage drinking; we shine a light on our victim services, ensuring it no longer remains our best kept secret;and we let the public know that we’re still here, still relevent and still working hard to keep families safe and together.

The brand refresh will help ensure our life saving work of serving people goes on in an upbeat and positive form. Including everyone and excluding no one.  Here at MADD we want to serve you and protect your families from the impact of drunk driving, underage drinking and stand stong on strong on policy initiatives that hold offenders accountable.

To all enjoy – the brand new day!

Top Ten Reasons

Posted: March 31, 2011 in Mothers Against Drunk Driving
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10)     Changing Seasons, from falling leaves, blankets of snow, spring showers and glowing sun rays

9)       Grocery Shopping, my favorite week-end past time always knowing that the aisles are full of new items we never saw as kids growing up in the 1970’s

8)       The Telephone, staying connected with friends and family by talking and listening and  always making plans what an invention – Thank you Mr. Bell!

7)         Paper, love paper, making paper, writing on paper, notebooks, stationary,  sticky notes – gotta love 3 M

6)       The Kitchen, I know but it is true the kitchen is my personal sanctuary where  music brims, coffee simmers and real work does get done!

5)       Laughter, it comes in so many forms from a chuckle to a smile to a full belly laugh that  brings tears to your eyes. Even the laughter of others as you pass by the play ground, a coffee-house or the neighbors visiting in the yard

4)       Kid’s Birthday’s, love watching the little tykes eat cake, watching eyes light up with the perfect gift and getting my exercise chasing them all!

3)       Passion for life, knowing that a new friend is just around the bend  and that the friends in my life are there for me, support my passion and always lend me their shoulder.

2)      Home, there really is no place like home and my heart is always planted deeply in my home (including house, city and state)

1)       Family, a million thanks to my family for standing by me, being the love of my life  and for their never-ending forgiveness when I take them for granted. Barbara Bush said it best “ To us, family  means putting your arms around each other and being there”.  

Well there you go!  My top ten reasons I am glad people make the choice not to drink and drive.  We all want to live to see another day and not have the joys of life snatched from us.  I know that these are many of the reasons victim families are impacted by drunk driving. None of us want to rearrange our “Top Ten” because of an alcohol-related crash.

Thank you to all that always makes the right choice. Never drink and drive and hold your family close!

  Transportation Committee

LB 625 – Support

Feb. 28, 2011

Simera Reynolds, Executive Director, MADD NE   

First, MADD would like to thank Senator Fulton for his leadership in introducing LB 625 mandatory ignition interlock for all offenders arrested at .08 and above and recognizing the transportation of our children while over the state legal limit (.08) as a felony offense.

Mothers Against Drunk Driving commends Senator Fulton for bringing this issue to the legislative body once again.  We all know drunk driving is a crime and a violent crime that kills one person in our state every five days.

Despite the fact that life saving technology exists, it is not uncommon for the courts to ask the offender if he wants it installed.  The law requiring ignition interlock, in its current state, is an optional law. For MADD optional = offender friendly. In 2009, there were more than 13,000 arrests for DWI, our state conviction rate stands at about 86 % and yet in 2009 there were only 1,800 ignition interlocks in use.

Recently, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) released that ignition interlocks do cut drunk driving and reduce recidivism.  Nebraska policy makers already knew this and acted when they passed LB 736.  However, it is clear that the use of ignition interlock has not been adopted at the county court level.  From our Court Monitoring Program, we can see that there is clearly an inconsistent use of this life saving device at best.

As a state, we have the duty to provide lifesaving technology when an offender has been found guilty of driving while intoxicated.  Not just for some but for every offender at .08 and above.

Additionally, the cost of this device is carried by the offender and does not cost the state monies.  MADD wants to see those that make the choice to drive drunk held accountable. Ignition interlock will do just that.

Second, MADD wants to articulate our strong support for a felony offense provision for those that make the choice to drive over the legal limit (.08). Adults that drink and drive with children in the vehicle are child abusers.  Child endangerment laws serve to protect innocent children from child abusers, not only those that are physically or emotionally abusive, but also those who victimize a child by driving impaired.

Currently, in our state, a DWI offender that is transporting a child can be found in violation of child endangerment law.  However, they are typically charged as two  separate offenses and one is all too often plead away. 

Two-thirds of all children ages 14 and under killed in an alcohol-related crash are killed while riding with a parent, caregiver or guardian (JAMA, May 200).  These children have no voice and they have no choice.  In Nebraska, over the last five years, more than 260 children have been put at-risk and 19 have died in an alcohol-related crash involving an adult  driver with a BAC of .08 or higher (NOHS). The lives of our youth deserve to have a policy in place to protect them from harm.

MADD would ask that you support LB 625, with the appropriate amendments, and send it to the full floor of the legislature for full debate.  Thank you for your time today.

Contact your state senator today to give our youth a voice.  Together we can protect our children and support lifesaving technology.  You voice will make a difference!

The other night MADD prestented to parents at Lincoln Southeast High School, the “Power of Parents, It’s Your Influence“.  It was an important opportunity for parents and MADD to share one common concern: how to prevent underage drinking.

Parents always worry about peers giving their kids drinks or a group of friends applying social pressure to one kid (their kid) to drink.

This does happen, but it is not the way that peer influence has the biggest impact.  Kids can learn skills to avoid or resist direct social pressure. 

The bigger influence from peers comes from the beliefs that teens hold about what they think other teens and their friends are doing as far as drinking alcohol.

Many kids believe “everyone is drinking” and that misperception influences the belief that it is normal to drink, the pressure to be like others, and then more drinking.

As parents, we need to direct our focus on what the real problem is….not protecting kids from the “bad” friend who tries to get them to drink but the false belief that “everyone is drinking.”

Take time today to start a conversation with your child about the dangers of underage drinking and about respecting the 21 law. Then revisit the conversation keep it going throughout high school and college.  Equip your child to make positive choices when it comes to alcohol.

Perhaps viewing the “Binge” airing on NETV will serve as a starting point for your “conversation”.

January 25th, a date set in my head for years now.  More specifically, January 25th, 2002 in New Mexico where four Nebraskan’s lost their lives to a nine time repeat offender.  January was a rough month with multiple fatalties here in Nebraska and 2002 ended up being one of the toughest years for alcohol-related crashes with a total of 115 deaths due to an alcohol-related crash and that is just in our state.

I can still remember traveling to New Mexico to be an advocate in the courtroom, for both families,  providing support and a strong shoulder as each family read their victim impact statements, in federal court, about how their loved ones would be forever missed. 

Dale, Jim and Jerry soon became strong supporters of MADD, active at the community and state level and to this day I feel very fortuante to count them as a friend of MADD.  The Beller family has been a strong advocate for mandatory ignition interlock legislation. They first worked with Governor Richardson in New Mexico.  New Mexico was the first to mandate ignition interlock and  over the last few years we have had data supporting that “offenders while on ignition interlock do not re-offend 95% of the time”.

Nebraska does have an ignition interlock law but LB 625 offers a means to mandate for all offenders at .08 and above.  MADD strongly supports this action as a means to ensure every offender is held accountable, pays for his/her crime and ignition interlock ensures public safety.

Today, in memory of the Bellers and the Ramaekers I want to urge you to fight for your fellow Nebraskans and write your state senator to support LB 625, introduced by State Senator Tony Fulton.

In this day and age, it takes but five minutes to e-mail a note to your senator.  The state senators need to know that we care about our loved ones and we want every family member to arrive home from the day to share the next day ahead.  With your voice MADD can strive to meet the goals set in our Campaign to Eliminate Drunk Driving.

All of us to should look to those impacted by drunk driving and say enough is enough, there is a better way and for the sake of our families we must be willing to encourge our policy makers to hold those that make the choice to drive drunk accountable.

If you or someone you know has been impacted by an alcohol-related crash please know that MADD is here to support you through the court process and the years ahead. 24 hour hotline: 877-623-3435