Posts Tagged ‘underage drinking’

It is time for our Second Annual PowerTalk 21 Day and we couldn’t be more excited! After the huge success of the First Annual Event, we decided to bring it back! So for the second year in a row, we are encouraging all parents to use April 21st as a day to start the conversation with their kids about alcohol! Is there really any better time than right now to keep your kids safe!

The bad news is, underage drinking is a growing problem and kids are starting to drink at younger and younger ages. The good news is, kids are still listening to their parents, so as a parent you can keep your teen from drinking. MADD’s Power of Parents program works to help parents start that difficult conversation about alcohol with their teens, because talking about it early and often and laying out clear expectations are two important ways to keep your teen safe from the dangers of underage drinking.

We obviously aren’t the only ones who think this is important! The Governor of the State of Nebraska Dave Heineman must agree, he is going to be signing a proclamation on April 11th, declaring April 21st PowerTalk 21 Day in the State of Nebraska! This tells you just how important he must think this issue is!

So join us in the conversation! Check out for more information on the program. Or call the Nebraska state office at (402) 434-5330 to find out more about how to hold a workshop in your area!


As many of you know we have been working across the state to get parents to start the conversation about alcohol with their teens through our Power of Parents Program. Now, we are adding the second part of the program into the mix and we can’t wait. Are you ready for the Power Of You(th)!?

The Power of You(th) is kicking off with a bang, or a shot really, a video shot. We are asking teens to create and submit a video as part of a national contest. This video should be about their choice not to drink underage and the power that teens have to encourage themselves and others to make that choice. This is such an incredible opportunity for young artists to show what helps them to live alcohol free. On top of that five winners will be chosen to head to MADD National to be part of a teen influencer group. The group will help to create the Power of You(th) handbook, a compliment to the Power of Parents handbook, made by teens for teens. Don’t worry if your teen isn’t into the video making process though, just come talk to us. We will be submitting Nebraska teens to be part of the influencers group through an application process. If you know a teen who is alcohol free and working to keep their peers that way, we can work on submitting a nomination for them to go. The top five applications from across the country will join the group in Texas to help make the handbook!

This is such an exciting time! We know that the Power of Parents is incredibly important. But, we also know that teens are a great influence on one another! This program is a huge opportunity to get teens talking and sharing the benefits of staying alcohol free with their friends! We can’t wait for fall when we get that teen-made handbook in our hands to start sharing at schools across the state! Want to know more check out or call the MADD Nebraska state office!

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!

 Mothers Against Drunk Driving® (MADD) joins with the numerous Attorneys General across the country who are asking Pabst Brewing Company to significantly reduce the number of servings of alcohol in a single container of Blast by Colt 45, since one 23.5-ounce can of Blast contains nearly 5 servings of alcohol. MADD is concerned that Blast may encourage dangerous binge drinking—which can lead to drunk driving—by those over 21, as well as those who are underage, posing serious health risks and greatly impairing these individuals’ decision-making abilities. MADD also urges Pabst Brewing Company to examine the marketing of this beverage in order to clarify its high alcohol content. Nearly 11,000 Americans are killed and more than 350,000 are injured each year in drunk driving crashes — a 100 percent preventable crime. In addition, teen alcohol use kills 6,000 people each year, more than all illegal drugs combined.

Therefore, MADD is committed to keeping drunk drivers off the road, serving victims of drunk driving crashes and preventing underage drinking.

I want to take a minute of your time to strongly encourage you to contact your state senator and let him or her know your support for LB 258, a bill that holds minors in possession accountable for multiple offenses. The bill provides for enhanced penalties much like our DUI statutes.

 MADD stands strong on the concept of Restrict, Repay and Recover.  As a community we want to ensure that an MIP offenders do not have the opportunity to re-offend year after year without increased penalties.

 LB 258, provides the appropriate avenue for offender accountability.  Currently, a young person can have multiple Minor In Possession(MIP) violations and the same consequence is in place – just as if it was a first offense. There must be a strong deterrent factor: tougher fines, community service, alcohol education.

   As a society, we must implement sanctions that hold the offender accountable in order to assure that the MIP offender does not go on to become a DUI offender that is in control of a 2,000 pound bullet.  A bullet that poses substantial risk to our wellbeing as we drive the roads to work, school & social functions.  Everyone in the community ought to have the right to travel safely without the worries of being impacted by a drunk driver.

 On behalf of MADD and our members, I want to encourage  you to contact your Nebraska State Senator ASAP and affirm your support for this legislation.

Nebraska Unicameral

 Please take time to support this legislative issue that addresses the continued lack of attention to the repeat MIP issue. Additionally, thank Senator Harms for introducing it and Speaker Flood for his strong support on the floor during debate, Tuesday, February 16th.

Simera Reynolds, M. Ed.

MADD Nebraska

There is little doubt from the literature that what we do, day in and day out, as parents does make a difference to our kids, family and even their friends.  Take time to have dinner and a conversation about not using alcohol before you are 21.  I did – you can too!  I found those rides in the car to and from activities, the store, to go pick up a friend – those were the best times to talk & listen.

Each week take a moment to talk about the importance of not breaking the law, making the right choice today and hanging out with peers that make the right choice too.  As parents, aunts and uncles we spend tons of time with them when they are toddlers: to the doctors, to the dentist, to music lessons, softball games.  Don’t let that time be more important than them coming home.

Make time today!


In 2008, an estimated 11,773 people died in drunk driving crashes involving a driver with an illegal BAC (.08 or greater). These deaths constitute 31.6 percent of the 37,261 total traffic fatalities in 2008. (Source: NHTSA, 2009)


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On behalf of MADD and our many members, I want to take a moment to highlight the fantastic work that Cooper Racing has done in 2009.  Gary and Donna Cooper have been solid supporters/volunteers and activists for almost 10 years. 

Last year, like each prior Gary & Donna feature the MADD racecar project and their Race Against Drugs.  During 2009 Cooper Racing had a record 3,156 youth visit their booth and sign a drug free pledge.  Their total pledge count now stands at 11,562! Thanks to the communities for inviting the MADD Racecar to their community to highlight the dangers of underage drinking and drinking and driving.  More importantly a BIG thanks goes to the Cooper’s for making a psoitve impact in 2009 and for the past ten years by reaching our youth through a creative and positive approach.

The Copper Racing Team has an alcohol free pit during the racing season.

You can find out more about the MADD racecar project go to:

All I know is that this year I am getting to the racetracks and I am grateful for the hard work and support Gary & Donna show MADD and our communities across the state – here’s to 2010! 

Fred Zwonechek, NOHS and First Lady Sally Ganem

 To read more about the Cooper racing see the article on page 10.