World Champion Sprinter and Olympian Tyson Gay Brings Ask, Listen, Learn to Abigail Vare School

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

PHILADELPHIA, Sept. 25, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Today, Olympic Sprinter Tyson Gay encouraged students at Abigail Vare 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, Gay reminded students of the importance of making healthy decisions to reach their goals.

Abigail Vare 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 2 week challenge in April. Centered on Ask, Listen, Learn, the challenge raised awareness of the dangers and consequences of underage drinking and benefits of making healthy choices during Alcohol Awareness Month. 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.

Gay challenged a few lucky kids to test their fast feet against him 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 which provides information and strategies to help jumpstart the conversation about the dangers of underage drinking.

"I always tell students that they need to make the right decisions at an early age," Gay said. "All of these kids can be successful. I would like to see more kids stay positive, be their own person, and live a healthy lifestyle and say no to underage drinking."

Abigail Vare Principal Joanne Capriotti praised The Century Council's efforts to reach kids on this important issue. "This is a superb program that our students enjoy playing in class- and hopefully it will spark a conversation between them and their parents about underage drinking. It's important that kids understand that the choices they make today – good or bad – will have a lasting impact on their lives."

"With 33% 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 Ralph Blackman 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, +1-202-637-0077

SOURCE The Century Council



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