Attention future artists! The billboards you see around the state could soon feature your artwork. The Partnership for a Drug-Free New Jersey, the New Jersey Division of Alcoholic Beverage Control and DARE New Jersey are looking for the artwork and creative alcohol abuse prevention messages of middle school students to feature on billboards throughout the state.
This contest is designed to be a family project, with both students and their families cooperatively creating the alcohol awareness billboard message, according to Angelo Valente, executive director of the Partnership for a Drug-Free New Jersey. Nicholas DeMauro, Chairman and CEO of DARE New Jersey noted that the theme for this contest is "How alcohol abuse affects middle school students." He explained, "this competition is open until March 2002, to any student in grades five, six, seven and eight. Students who wish to participate should contact their local police department and speak to their DARE officer."
According to Valente, the submissions of twelve finalists will be chosen and will be featured in a calendar that will be distributed to every middle school in the state. He explained that an overall winner will be chosen from the finalists and that student's submission will be featured on billboards throughout the state and will be receive four airline tickets from Continental airlines.
"We cannot curb underage alcohol abuse through strong law enforcement alone," explained Jerry Fischer, Director of the New Jersey Division of Alcoholic Beverage Control. "Unfortunately, the use of alcohol by young people results from a mind set formed at an early age. In addition to enforcement, a strategy that includes equal parts of education, public awareness and family participation is needed if we are to change young people's values. If we are to be successful in these efforts, we must talk to children at the earliest age possible about the consequences of alcohol use, and talk must begin at home. This new initiative helps us accomplish that, by raising awareness and encouraging a dialogue between parents and children about the very real dangers of underage drinking," Fischer concluded.
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