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PRESS RELEASE / ANNOUNCEMENTS Tuesday, April 23, 2013

District Attorney Joyce Dudley to Award Santa Barbara Teens $1750 in Scholarships for Writing About Addiction

SafeLaunch, a teen addiction prevention initiative started in Santa Barbara, will announce the winners of their tri-county Media $500 Contest on Thursday, May 2nd at the Veterans Memorial Building, located at 112 W. Cabrillo Boulevard in Santa Barbara. The theme for the contest is “Written reflections: Exposing the roots of addiction and smashing the stigma.”


Judged by Fellows from the University of California at Santa Barbara’s South Coast Writing Project, six outstanding entries have been selected for cash scholarship awards. First prize is $500 in each category.

The SafeLaunch Media $500 Contests challenge students to use their creative gifts in all media to educate others about the science of addiction. In 2011, students raised their voices in song and told their stories in video; in 2012, they illuminated the faces of addiction through photography and art. This year, teens compel us to look at the disease through poetry and prose.

There are currently more than 23 million Americans suffering from the disease of addiction, impacting more than 200 million others. Homelessness, child abuse, low educational outcomes, high dropout rates, rising prison populations, and poverty are just a few consequences of a disease that directly and indirectly takes a toll on us all, and therefore, in the view of SafeLaunch, requires a fresh, new pro-active strategy. SafeLaunch gives teens opportunities to demonstrate courage, provide leadership, and protect their peers from the disease of addiction.

According to retired Navy Commander Ron Cuff, co-founder of SafeLaunch, “For me, having this award ceremony at the Veterans Building is poignant. The disease of addiction has struck many of our veterans very hard, and at the same time, has reduced the number of young people who are fit to serve. SafeLaunch is engaging everyone in this community to take a proactive stance to prevent addiction, a disease that threatens the fabric of our nation, and victimizes friends and family members alike. The solution is to prevent the disease where it almost always starts, with our teens. Unleashing the creative power of young people on this chronic illness is one of our most powerful weapons.”

Fiona Ma, former California Speaker Pro Tem and co-chair of the event expressed the significance of SafeLaunch this way, “As adults, civic leaders, and legislators it is our responsibility to prevent any disease that incubates in the brains or bodies of our young people. I encourage everyone to join SafeLaunch’s fresh, new and proactive approach to preventing addiction.”

Santa Barbara County District Attorney Joyce Dudley, event co-chair, and Santa Barbara Mayor Pro Tem Randy Rowse, the husband of SafeLaunch co-founder, Janet Rowse, will present the awards. The ceremony starts at 5:00 PM, when $1750 in cash scholarships will be awarded to six teen writers. The public is invited to attend the ceremony and applaud them.

Visit SafeLaunch at http://www.safelaunch.org or call 805-283-7233 for more information.

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