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Two Long Island Students Chosen to be Part of MADD's National Teen Influencer Group

Southampton High School student Will Banks and West Hollow Middle School student Sarah Haiken are among ten teens that have been selected nationwide to be a part of Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD)'s first-ever National ...

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Southampton High School student Will Banks and West Hollow Middle School student Sarah Haiken are among ten teens that have been selected nationwide to be a part of Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD)’s first-ever National Teen Influencer Group, a youth empowerment organization.

Through MADD's Power of Youth program, five of the teens were selected based upon short videos they created to discourage underage drinking and five were selected among nominations by MADD, MADD partners and State Farm employees and volunteers, based upon their contributions to underage drinking prevention in their communities.

State Farm is the National Presenting Sponsor of Walk Like MADD, MADD’s signature walk event.

"State Farm is proud to team up with MADD on the Power of You(th) program, which enables teens to create positive change around the many dangers associated with teen alcohol use," said Kellie Clapper, assistant vice president of community relations for State Farm.

In response to MADD’s Power of You(th) video contest inviting teens nationwide to produce a video (a minute or less in length) that discourages underage drinking, Banks, 16, created his winning entry. Submissions are judged on how well they focus on preventing underage drinking (and not drunk driving), their attention-getting creativity and their overall quality.

According to a press release from the organization, Haiken, 13, was nominated for the honor based on her significant contributions to underage drinking prevention in the community.

Banks and Haiken will join with the eight other winners who have secured a spot in MADD's National Teen Influencer Group where they will provide insight on the creation of a nationwide underage drinking prevention initiative that empowers young people to make a difference in their community.

They will also receive an all-expenses-paid trip to MADD's National Office in Dallas for a National Teen Influencer Summit in late June 2012. In addition, Banks and the other four video contest winners have each won an iPad 2.

“It’s truly inspiring to see such passion and enthusiasm among these young people,” said MADD National President Jan Withers. “MADD hopes to work with these teens to harness the Power of You(th) and motivate teens around the country to take a stand against underage drinking.”

Founded by a mother whose daughter was killed by a drunk driver, MADD is the nation's largest nonprofit organization working to protect families from drunk driving and underage drinking.

According to the organization, teen alcohol use kills about 6,000 people each year—more than all other illegal drugs combined, our children share the road with an estimated 2 million drivers who have had three or more prior drunk driving offenses and one in three people will be involved in an alcohol-related crash in their lifetime.

MADD's Campaign to Eliminate Drunk Driving works to protect our families from the dangers of drunk driving by supporting law enforcement efforts to protect our roads, requiring convicted drunk drivers to use devices that ensure sobriety and bolstering efforts to equip cars with technology to determine if drivers are impaired and, if so, to prevent them from driving.

MADD’s PowerTalk 21 is a national day for parents to talk with their kids about alcohol using the proven strategies of Power of Parents to reduce the risk of underage drinking.

As one of the largest victim services organizations in the U.S., MADD also supports drunk and drugged driving victims and survivors at no charge, serving one person every nine minutes through local MADD victim advocates and at 1-877-MADD-HELP. Learn more at MADD's Website or by calling 1-877-ASK-MADD.

SOURCE Mothers Against Drunk Driving