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Century Council Athlete Ambassadors Convey Anti-Underage Drinking Messages During Alcohol Awareness Month

Ambassadors include Shaquille O'Neal, Apolo Ohno, Bryan Clay, Tyson Gay, Steve Lopez, Mallory Weggemann & Rebecca Soni

WASHINGTON, April 3, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- In recognition of April as Alcohol Awareness Month, The Century Council today announced continued campaign efforts acknowledging benefits of living a healthy lifestyle and the consequences of binge drinking and underage drinking.  The Century Council, a national not-for-profit funded by distillers dedicated to fighting drunk driving and underage drinking, announces new components to their Ask, Listen, Learn: Kids and Alcohol Don't Mix program including new Ambassadors, an in-school physical education competition and distribution of educational materials through Scholastic. What's more, Shaquille O'Neal will visit the University of Alabama to address college binge drinking. 

Yesterday The Century Council released new survey results that demonstrate parents are the leading influence on kids' decision not to drink alcohol.  Today's announcement provides additional resources to help parents and other key influencers of young people continue the critical conversation about the dangers of underage drinking using formats that resonate with kids – positive role models and compelling media.

Ask, Listen, Learn Ambassador, Apolo Anton Ohno, Speed Skater, Dancing with the Stars Champion, and the most decorated US Winter Olympian, will be joined by additional Ask, Listen, Learn Superstars to promote Ask, Listen, Learn, the most widely distributed alcohol awareness program of its kind in the country.  The ambassadors joining Apolo in this important mission include:

  • Bryan Clay, two-time decathlon medalist and regarded as the "World's Greatest Athlete"
  • Tyson Gay, three-time world champion and America's "Fastest Man"
  • Steve Lopez, three-time medalist in Taekwondo
  • Rebecca Soni, breaststroke world champion and gold medalist swimmer
  • Mallory Weggemann, champion Paralympic swimmer
  • Remmi Smith, star of "Cook Time with Remmi," and "The Culinary Kid"

Ask Listen Learn encourages kids to "say 'YES' to a healthy lifestyle and 'NO' to underage drinking" through an interactive and educational website, social media channels, a series of middle school visits and three Ask Listen Learn Superstar Challenges.  In the latest Superstar Challenge Apolo Ohno tries to see if he has what it takes to complete Bryan Clay's workout as he trains to compete in London.  These segments offer a compelling opportunity for parents and kids to watch and discuss how there is zero room for underage drinking in a healthy teen's life.  Upcoming Superstar Challenges in May and June include Apolo Ohno facing off against Steven Lopez and Mallory Weggemann.

"The conversations about the consequences of underage drinking and the benefits of making healthy and positive choices should happen early and often," said Ralph Blackman, President and CEO of The Century Council.  "Through our Ask, Listen, Learn program and our Ambassadors, we can help foster a positive environment to encourage and engage the conversation between parents and kids, which we know is so important to the fight against underage drinking."

Scholastic Magazine

In further support of the 2012 campaign, Superstars Bryan Clay and Remmi Smith are featured in Ask, Listen, Learn materials that will be distributed to more than 700,000 students through a strategic partnership with Scholastic magazine. Under the "Dream, Plan, Achieve" headline, Clay and Smith share their tips on living a healthy lifestyle while saying no to underage drinking. The content, as well as other lesson ideas and take home materials for children and parents, is available for download at www.asklistenlearn.com.  

2012 Ask, Listen, Learn Challenge

The 2012 Ask, Listen, Learn Challenge, in partnership with the National Association of Sport and Physical Education (NASPE) and Sportime, will launch the first week of April for teachers in grades 5-7 who register to participate by April 15, 2012 and have received Ask, Listen, Learn's Interactive Game. Teachers will incorporate the game into their classroom and the teacher with the highest average student score per grade level will be awarded a $1,000 certificate from Sportime to purchase PE equipment for their school.  In addition, one of the Ask, Listen, Learn Ambassadors will visit the winning schools in the Fall of 2012, while second and third place winners for each grade level will also receive $500 and $250 certificates, respectively, which will be announced during National Physical Education and Sport week May 1-7, 2012.

Public Service Announcement with Apolo Ohno

The Century Council will also be releasing a new series of PSAs featuring Apolo Ohno and States' Attorney Generals to promote Ask, Listen, Learn: Kids and Alcohol Don't Mix. The radio and television PSAs, which will include an interactive element for viewers to "Apolo-cize," will air throughout the month of April and beyond in select states.

College Binge Drinking Initiative with Shaquille O'Neal

In addition to Ask, Listen, Learn, The Century Council has also partnered with future basketball Hall of Famer Shaquille O'Neal to help fight college binge drinking. In conjunction with Alcohol Awareness Month, Shaq will visit University of Alabama-Tuscaloosa on Friday, April 6 to produce the student-led Less Than U Think campaign, which will ultimately be featured across college campuses in Alabama including Alabama State University, Auburn University, The University of Alabama, The University of Alabama at Birmingham, Troy University and the University of South Alabama.

According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, forty-one percent (41%) of 18-25 year olds report they engage in binge drinking. Shaq, who recently attended film director's school, will work alongside college students to bring the voice of the students to life by producing student-created videos addressing the serious issue of binge drinking on campus. Earlier this year, Shaq directed a piece with students and their Stupid Drink campaign at Syracuse University.

Over the course of Alcohol Awareness Month and throughout the remainder of the year, The Century Council will be releasing additional program information and activities, both locally and nationally, to continue to provide effective tools and information to help combat underage drinking.

The Century Council
The Century Council, is a national not-for-profit leader in the fight to eliminate drunk driving and underage drinking and is funded by the following distillers: Bacardi U.S.A., Inc.; Beam, Inc.; Brown-Forman; Constellation Brands, Inc.; DIAGEO; Hood River Distillers, Inc.; and Pernod Ricard USA. Headquartered in Arlington, Virginia, The Century Council promotes responsible decision making regarding beverage alcohol and develops and implements innovative programs and public awareness campaigns which ignite action through strategic partnerships. Established in 1991, The Century Council's initiatives are highlighted on its website at www.centurycouncil.org and www.asklistenlearn.org.

About the research
The Century Council contracted Toluna to conduct an online survey of 10-18 year olds and parents of 10-18 year olds living in the same household.  Using one of Toluna's demographically diverse panels, the survey matched parents of 10-18 year olds and their age appropriate son or daughter at the same time.  A nationally representative sample of 509 parents and 10-18 years was completed February 15-16, 2012 and an oversample of Hispanic parents and youth was completed February 17-20, 2012 for a total of 250 responses.  Toluna is the world's leading independent online panel and survey technology provider to the global market research industry. 

TRU conducted the May 2003 research among 10-18 year olds and Wirthlin Worldwide (now Harris Interactive) conducted the parent research utilizing their April and May 2003 National Quorum surveys.

Contact: Jessica Lepak, The Century Council
LepakJ@centurycouncil.org or (202) 637-0077

SOURCE The Century Council



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