TAMPA, Fla. — Eight members of Ortega Middle School (OMS) and Alamosa High School (AHS) Students Against Destructive Decisions (SADD) recently attended the SADD National Conference in Tampa, Florida. Accompanied by sponsor Heidi Morgan, these students were the only attendees from Colorado. SADD is a premier youth organization focusing on peer-to-peer youth education, prevention and activism who work to strengthen students, schools and communities.
Chenoa Candy, Jasmine Sais, Bailee Del Tondo, Emma Turner, Haylee Morgan, Memory Layton, Brianna Willis and Cassie Willis are excited to bring their experiences back to OMS, AHS and the community.
At National Conference, students learned about the history of SADD, which originated as Students Against Drunk Driving in 1981 and expanded to other issues at student request in 1997. While SADD students take on important issues in their communities, they are offered leadership development opportunities that prepare them to meet the challenges of adolescence and adulthood and achieve their full potential.
The attendees shared conference highlights with the Prevention Team at Alamosa County Public Health recently. One student related hearing from a group of prison inmates (via skype) about the life choices that led to imprisonment. Another was impacted by the session she attended in which a young man shared his story of his distracted driving resulting in his own life-threatening injuries and the death of his best friend. The key phrase “Because I said I Would” is something memorable another student wants to use to inspire her to stay strong.
Ideas the group has for bringing their experiences back to the community are: meetings with city and county officials, planning fun activities for other young people both in school and out of school, inspiring others and promoting SADD as a safe place. Students came back with ideas for alternate party activities. One student hopes to bring the joy of dancing to her peers. All students emphasized the importance of parental involvement.
They also hope to do fundraising in order to attend the 2018 National Conference in Washington, DC and the 2019 conference in Denver.
Caption: From left, top row are Heidi Morgan, Brianna Willis and Cassie Willis. From left, middle row are Emma Turner, Haylee Morgan and Memory Layton. From left bottom row are Chenoa Candy, Jasmine Sais and Bailee Del Tondo. Courtesy photo