--Jan Withers of Maryland Appointed New MADD National President--
BALTIMORE, April 21, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- On the first annual PowerTalk 21™ day, Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) announces Jan Withers as its new National President, effective July 1, 2011. Withers joined MADD in 1992, after her 15-year-old daughter, Alisa Joy, was killed by an underage drunk driver. Today, Withers' story is being featured as part of MADD Maryland's PowerTalk 21 event at the University of Maryland R. Adams Cowley Shock Trauma Center to encourage parents to start talking with their kids about alcohol.
"I've made it my life's work to support the victims and survivors of drunk driving crashes," said Withers. "I am thrilled to now have the opportunity to shine a light on the issues of drunk driving and underage drinking from a national platform."
"Jan's dedication and passion for MADD's mission is undeniable. She will be a tremendous ambassador for the organization in her new role," added Robert Strassburger, Acting Chair, MADD National Board of Directors. "She will be integral in furthering our Campaign to Eliminate Drunk Driving® as well as our efforts to prevent underage drinking."
Withers will be a key spokesperson for the MADD's Campaign to Eliminate Drunk Driving, which calls for high-visibility law enforcement, ignition interlocks (or "in-car breathalyzers") for all convicted drunk drivers, and development of advanced technology to turn cars into the cure for drunk driving.
"During her nearly 20 years as a MADD volunteer, Jan has demonstrated an exceptional ability to connect with those who have been through the unimaginable devastation of a drunk driving crash," said MADD CEO Kimberly Earle. "As someone who lost a child because of underage drinking, she also knows the importance of helping parents have lifesaving conversations with their teens."
Withers was elected to the MADD National Board of Directors in 2005. She also serves on the MADD Maryland Operations Council, and is a certified victim advocate and certified trainer for MADD Victim Services in Maryland.
She first started volunteering with MADD by sharing her personal story and lobbying for stronger drunk driving legislation. She also actively participated in campaigning to lower the illegal limit for drivers' blood alcohol concentration from a .10 to a .08, both on the national level and in Maryland. Withers even had the privilege of being present in the Oval Office when President Clinton signed the federal bill into law.
Previously, Withers served as the Director of Victim Services with the Maryland Crime Victims' Resource Center.
Born and raised in Denver, Colo., Withers earned her bachelor's degree from Colorado Women's College. She and her husband currently reside in Upper Marlboro, Md. They have five children and five grandchildren.
To request MADD National President-Elect Jan Withers as a speaker for an upcoming event, email [email protected].
About PowerTalk 21
PowerTalk 21 — on April 21st — is the national day for parents to talk with their kids about alcohol, using the Power of Parents, It's Your Influence™ handbook as the guide. Developed with Pennsylvania State University's Dr. Robert Turrisi, MADD's Power of Parents handbook is based on more than two decades of underage drinking research, and has been shown to significantly reduce underage drinking behaviors, even in households with below average communication. For more information about PowerTalk 21, visit www.madd.org/powertalk21.
About Mothers Against Drunk Driving
Founded by a mother who lost her daughter in a crash, Mothers Against Drunk Driving® (MADD) is the nation's largest nonprofit working to protect families from drunk driving and underage drinking. With the help of those who want a safer future, MADD's Campaign to Eliminate Drunk Driving® will end this danger on America's roads. PowerTalk 21™ is the national day for parents to talk with their kids about alcohol, using the proven strategies of Power of Parents, It's Your Influence® to reduce the risk of underage drinking. And as one of the largest victim services organizations in the U.S., MADD also supports drunk driving victims and survivors at no charge, serving one person every 10 minutes at 1-877-MADD-HELP. Learn more at www.madd.org or call 1-877-ASK-MADD.