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Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Rapper Bow Wow Kicks off MADD Prom With Music at Texas High School

Students Vow to Party Safe and Sober With New THINK Prom Program

Prom season in Houston commenced with a special celebrity performance by R&B music artist Bow Wow at Sam Houston High School (SHHS), sponsored by Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) and Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company (Nationwide).

MADD's THINK.Prom program, which is nationally sponsored by Nationwide, encourages students to pledge to stay alcohol and drug free during prom time. According to statistics, traffic deaths among teen drivers during typical prom weekends are greater than any other time of year.

"We are proud to work with Nationwide to provide the THINK.Prom program because the choices students make today impact their lives tomorrow," said MADD National President Glynn Birch. "We are asking teens to leave alcohol out of prom, never ride with someone who's been drinking and to buckle up. We want students to remember every detail of one of the biggest nights of the year."

Before an audience of nearly 800 juniors and seniors, Bow Wow told of how he is able to stay alcohol and drug free despite celebrity pressures. The 20-year-old chart-topping artist asked the teens to pledge to party safe and sober on prom night, and sang the hit "Shortie Like Mine" from his fifth album, The Price of Fame.

"People don't understand what comes with being famous," Bow Wow confessed. "There are pressures as an artist and an individual. The choice to not drink underage or use drugs is a personal choice. It's not always the easiest choice to make, but I've decided not to do the party scene, and it's the right choice for me and my life as a rapper, actor and entrepreneur."

Killed in alcohol-related crashes during prom weekends in 2005 were 290 young people ages 15-20. Of those fatalities, 198 deaths involved a 15-to-20-year-old impaired driver.

"Prom night is an important part of being a teenager," Nationwide Vice President of Safety Bill Windsor said. "We want teens to have good memories about their prom, not memories of some tragic event. We want teens to think about making the right choices and to party safe and sober during prom, and throughout the rest of the year."

On prom night, the SHHS drum line kept things lively as students entered the auditorium, while varsity cheerleaders performed a special routine to the words of the THINK.Prom pledge. Senior class president Marla Trujillo shared how the THINK.Prom will be applied in school through "pledge drives" as teens sign individual pledge sheets and a giant banner that will be hung at the prom dance. Students will also view a special prom DVD at school before the big day.

"The Houston Independent School District is excited about having MADD work with our teens on the THINK.Prom program," said Peter Messiah with HISD Safe and Drug Free Schools. "We know that there is a greater risk of alcohol- related injuries during prom season, and we look forward to collaborating with our partners to ensure the safety of our students."

To empower students to be alcohol and drug free during special occasions such as prom and homecoming, MADD and Nationwide teamed up last fall to launch THINK, a year-round, alcohol-use prevention program. THINK.Prom is part of the program.

The No. 1 drug problem among youth is alcohol, claiming more young people than all other illicit drugs combined. Over 6,000 young people die each year because of underage drinking-related causes. In 2005, 2,035 15-20 year olds were killed in alcohol-related traffic crashes-an average of six deaths per day. Of those lives claimed, 1,387 youth aged 15-20 died in crashes involving a 15-20-year-old alcohol-impaired driver.

More Information for Parents: Read the Driver Education Handbook for Parents and Learn how to teach your teen how to become a Safe Driver.

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