Ladonna Crowder, HHS, Hetty Turkel, HHS, Joni Andrews, RCA, Theresa Owens (primary) RCHS, Karen Hardy, Maggie Watkins, Alikah Shafiq (primary) SHS, Debbie McNamara – Edwards Middle School, Ocie Rush – Alpha Academy
The Rockdale community kicked off its new Students Against Destructive Decisions program, also known as SADD, to encourage students and young teens in making smart decisions to set a healthier, safer course for their lives.
The opening rally for the SADD program saw about 100 students, supporters and faculty members turn out this past Tuesday at the Rockdale Career Academy. The rally was organized by the offices of Student and Community Support in the Division of Support Services. Among the many informative booths, student-engaging activities, and refreshments was live entertainment by the Salem High School jazz musicians.
Schools participating included Rockdale County High School, Salem High School, Heritage High School, Rockdale Career Academy, Alpha Academy and Edwards Middle School. All six schools have newly-formed local SADD chapters which will offer a student-led alliance to engage and encourage their peers in making healthy choices. This peer-to-peer education highlights social issues as well as the prevention of underage drinking, impaired driving, drug use and other harmful decisions. "The power in prevention efforts lies in the hands of our student-led communities," said RCPS Director of Student Support Candace Ford.
Community support has enabled Rockdale County to advance the SADD program in schools, with community partners like Family Wraparound, formerly known as KidsNet, Rockdale County Task Force Against Family Violence, chaired by Judge Nancy Bills, Project ReNeWal and Prevent Child Abuse Rockdale. "I cannot describe the level of support from the community," said April Fallon, director of community support.
The Rockdale County Task Force was recently awarded "Task Force of the Year" by the State of Georgia.
A $2,000 grant per school, which is still pending approval, will help fund the program so schools can begin an initiation to gain more interest and support from students.
The first SADD rally had great support from Rockdale County students.
Shantera McRae, a junior at Heritage High School who recently joined SADD, said, "I really got into it to help. I like to be able to help people."
Students also receive regular coaching from Sheriff’s Office Student Resource Officers who provided students the chance to see through "Fatal Vision" goggles at the rally to demonstrate the levels of intoxication.
For more information on the SADD program, visit www.sadd.org, or www.rockdaleaware.com. SADD chapter members and sponsors are currently reviewing ideas and preparing for the upcoming Red Ribbon Week, from Oct. 17 to Oct. 25, the oldest and largest drug awareness prevention campaign in the country.