TORRANCE, Calif., June 21, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Nearly 400 youth leaders and their adult advisors from SADD (Students Against Destructive Decisions), the nation's leading peer-to-peer youth education, prevention, and activism organization, will learn and share best practices to improve teen health and safety at the 2012 SADD National Conference. Taking place June 24 – 27 at the Torrance Marriott South Bay in Torrance, Calif., the Conference empowers young people to lead initiatives in their schools and communities that will encourage prevention education and create a positive effect on the lives of their peers.
Since beginning in 1981, SADD has provided quality prevention education programming to its nearly 10,000 chapters nationwide. This year's conference sponsors include the California Office of Traffic Safety (Presenting Sponsor), Toyota, Cars.com, DCH Auto Group, The National Road Safety Foundation, and the FDA/Center for Tobacco Products. The exhibit hall will feature 20 of the leading government, for profit, and nonprofit organizations working in the field of youth health and safety.
This year's conference theme, "The Prevention League: Discover Your Power," was selected by the SADD National Student Leadership Council (SLC), a group of prominent student leaders from across the country. Through more than 40 dynamic workshops, motivational speakers, skill-building activities and shared storytelling, attendees will learn how to deal with critical issues facing teens today, including driving and traffic safety; building self-confidence; Internet safety; bullying and cyber bullying; underage drinking prevention; tobacco use prevention; healthy teen dating/relationships; teen pregnancy awareness; social host laws; the power of partnerships and more. The curriculum aims to help teens recognize their own power to rise above negative influences, while networking opportunities allow them to learn from other student leaders about ways to best promote healthy and positive life choices among their peers.
"Empowering young people and equipping them with the tools to inspire positive change are at the heart of the SADD National Conference," said Penny Wells, SADD president & CEO. "It's truly encouraging to see firsthand the dedication from chapter leaders and know that beyond the conference, thousands of young people will be changed for the better."
With motor vehicle crashes remaining the leading cause of death among teens, the importance of educating young drivers about the dangers of risky, aggressive, and distracted driving will be highlighted.
A third-year sponsor of the National Conference, Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A. has focused on teen driving safety since 2004. The company will present the workshop, "Toyota Driving Expectations – The Road Ahead," featuring Erica Enders, NHRA Pro Stock Race Driver, who will share tips with attendees on setting the course for their own road ahead by learning how to prepare, concentrate and observe. Additionally, in conjunction with the DCH Auto Group, Toyota will sponsor an interactive "Getting to Know You" activity that will allow attendees to network and exchange ideas with their peers. A simulated demonstration will also show teens the risks associated with distractions behind the wheel.
"Teen driving safety is a priority for Toyota," said Michael Rouse, VP of philanthropy and community affairs, Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A.
Additional traffic safety-related presentations, sponsored by the California Office of Traffic Safety, include a workshop led by a representative of the American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators which will focus on the changing technology drivers face while behind the wheel as well as traffic safety education facilitated by the Santa Clara County Public Health Department. The Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance will also host a presentation entitled "Operation Safe Driver—Safe Driving Practices for Teens."
The dangers of prescription drug abuse will be addressed by the National Institute on Drug Abuse. To educate SADD leaders about avoiding prescription drug abuse, the Institute will provide an overview of their new, interactive PEERx campaign which features videos, event guides, t-shirts, and more.
In addition to sessions focusing on youth advocacy and SADD's legislative priorities, other conference highlights include the following:
- MADD (Mothers Against Drunk Driving) staff will present the organization's latest underage drinking prevention initiative.
- The Riverside County SAFE Task Force will help youth understand how to stay safe on the Internet.
- Stixs and Stones will provide a creative and active workshop session about promoting healthy relationships and will stimulate dialogue around issues of dating and domestic violence.
- Cars.com will help teens learn the best tools, tips, and tricks to digitally brand themselves as young professionals and use social media to inspire teens instead of creating negative outcomes.
- National Organizations for Youth Safety (NOYS) will empower teens to help spread awareness to save the lives of their peers through its "Act Out Loud for the Safest Summer Ever" campaign because the summer months are the most deadly and dangerous time for youth on the roads.
To kick off the conference, Mayor Pro Tem Tom Brewer will present an Official Proclamation declaring June 23 as SADD Day in Torrance. SADD will also recognize chapters and individuals at its annual Awards Banquet, including honoring Christopher Murphy, Director of the California Office of Traffic Safety (OTS), and Seventeen magazine with Outstanding Contribution Awards. Rounding out the conference highlights are the induction of the 2012-13 SADD National Student Leadership Council and a trip to Disneyland.
SADD, the nation's leading peer-to-peer youth education, prevention, and activism organization, is committed to empowering young people to lead initiatives in their schools and communities. Founded in 1981, today SADD has thousands of chapters in middle schools, high schools, and colleges across the country. SADD highlights prevention of many destructive behaviors and attitudes that are harmful to young people, including underage drinking, substance abuse, risky and impaired driving, and teen violence and suicide. Discover more about SADD at sadd.org.
Toyota (NYSE: TM) established operations in the United States in 1957 and currently operates 10 manufacturing plants in eight states. Toyota directly employs nearly 30,000 people in the U.S. and its investment here is currently valued at more than $18 billion, including sales and manufacturing operations, research and development, financial services and design facilities. Toyota's annual purchasing of parts, materials, goods and services from U.S. suppliers totals more than $23 billion.
Toyota is deeply committed to being a great community partner and is focused on supporting programs in ways that achieve long-term sustainable results. Toyota supports numerous organizations across the country, with a particular concentration on education, the environment and safety. Since 1991, Toyota has contributed more than half a billion dollars to philanthropic programs across the U.S.
For more information on Toyota, please visit www.toyota.com/community.