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Gold Medalist Swimmer Rebecca Soni Brings Ask, Listen, Learn To Paul Public Charter School

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Program encourages kids to "say 'YES' to a healthy lifestyle and 'NO' to underage drinking"

WASHINGTON, Sept. 24, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Today, Olympic gold medalist swimmer Rebecca Soni encouraged students at Paul Public Charter School to "say 'YES' to a healthy lifestyle and 'NO' to underage drinking." As an ambassador for The Century Council's Ask, Listen, Learn: Kids and Alcohol Don't Mix program, Soni reminded students of the importance of making healthy decisions to reach their goals.

Paul Public Charter School was one of three grand prize winners of the 2012 Ask, Listen, Learn Challenge. Administered by the National Association for Sport and Physical Education (NASPE), 30 schools from across the country participated in the two-week challenge in April, which is Alcohol Awareness Month. Centered on Ask, Listen, Learn, the challenge raised awareness of the dangers and consequences of underage drinking and benefits of making healthy choices. Each of the three grand prize winning schools won the opportunity to receive a visit from an Olympian from the 2012 Summer Games and a $1,000 voucher from Sportime for new physical education equipment.

Soni challenged a few lucky kids to test their fast feet against her in the running competitions on Ask, Listen, Learn's interactive game. The game enables middle school kids to learn about the negative consequences of underage drinking and benefits of making healthy decisions while they exercise. The premise is based on research by Harvard Medical School's Dr. John Ratey, showing that for a person's brain to function at its peak; the body needs to move.  The multimedia program includes the game, print materials, and a supporting website that provides a pledge for kids to live a healthy lifestyle and an opportunity to play online games and read about likeminded role models.  The website also dedicates an area for parents and educators that provides information and strategies to help jumpstart the conversation about the dangers of underage drinking.

"I know kids face a lot of peer pressure to drink underage," said Soni. "The best advice I can give to them is to figure out what their dream is and go for it. My goal was to swim, and practicing every day made me manage my school work and free time to keep my mind and body in the best shape possible. I could not be where I am today had I made unhealthy choices that strayed from my goal."

Paul Public Charter School Head of School Jami Dunham applauded The Century Council's efforts to reach kids on this key issue. "Though our students have a blast playing the Ask, Listen, Learn game, the greatest part of this program is that it's encouraging kids to have conversations with their parents about underage drinking. We want our students to be smart, healthy leaders."

"With more than one-third of teens saying that they have tried alcohol by the time they reach the eighth grade and 5% of 12 to 14 year olds saying that they have had alcohol in the past month, this program couldn't be more important," said Jennifer Curley of The Century Council. "Since the program's inception, there has been a 32% reduction in the current consumption rates among 8th graders.  It's important for parents to begin the conversation about underage drinking early and to have it often – which is exactly what we are trying to jumpstart here today."

About Ask, Listen, Learn
Ask, Listen, Learn was developed more than seven years ago and is the most widely distributed alcohol education program of its kind. Ask, Listen, Learn's new initiatives include:

  • Asklistenlearn.com encourages kids to "say 'YES' to a healthy lifestyle and 'NO' to underage drinking" by offering kids interactive and educational games and videos.
    • Any kid can become a member of the Ask, Listen, Learn Team by taking a pledge to make healthy choices.
  • Ask, Listen, Learn utilizes role models such as swimmer Rebecca Soni, Paralympic swimmer Mallory Weggemann, track stars Tyson Gay and Bryan Clay, and the most decorated athlete in Taekwondo, Steven Lopez, as "Superstars." Superstars encourage kids to make responsible decisions and live a healthy lifestyle.

About 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.

Contact: Tyler Allen, The Century Council
AllenT@centurycouncil.org or (202) 637-0077

SOURCE The Century Council



RELATED LINKS
http://www.centurycouncil.org

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