Sometimes the simple things that we can do for victim/survivors and their families often have as great of an impact as the key services that MADD provides. This can be seen through the actions of a small group of passionate scrapbooking divas in Texas who wanted to help the best way they knew how—by making unique, one-of-a-kind cards for victim/survivors of drunk driving.
Karah Ricketts, Volunteer Coordinator for the Texas State Central Region, encountered this group in her quest for victim services volunteers. Their talents didn’t quite fit into the role that typical volunteers fill, but Karah wasn’t about to let their desire to help go unfulfilled. They came up with a unique way use their creative talents while providing a valuable service for victims.
This artistic group creates hand-made custom cards for MADD to use, in conjunction with the standard “We Care Card,” to reach out to victims and survivors letting them know that we are here for them. This initial correspondence with victim/survivors is so important during a time filled with overwhelming emotions. The volunteers hope that these cards let them know that someone is thinking about them, that someone cares.
In one afternoon the eight volunteers created more than 50 beautifully unique, handcrafted cards, and since then, over a dozen people have expressed interest in joining this card-making crew. The Central Texas office plans to have monthly gatherings for volunteers to assemble to create the cards, while other volunteers have continued making cards on their own for MADD. One of the volunteers said, “I have made 25 cards in the last week. This is the most fun time I have ever had as a volunteer with any nonprofit.”
While it may seem like a small gesture, the love and care that go into making each card will undoubtedly be felt by those who receive them.
We are encouraged to see that the Kansas Department of Transportation recently released preliminary data showing a dramatic drop in drunk driving deaths over the past year. In the year since a law went into effect on July 1, 2011, requiring all drunk driving offenders in Kansas to use an ignition interlock on their vehicles, the state is reporting 59 alcohol-related traffic fatalities—compared with 125 and 137, respectively, for the previous two years during the same timeframe.
Ignition interlocks, or in-car breathalyzers, require drunk drivers to prove they are sober before the car will start. Throughout the U.S., 17 states (plus a pilot program in California) have laws requiring the use of this technology for all convicted drunk drivers, including first-time offenders.
MADD would like to commend Kansas lawmakers, especially Senator Tim Owens, Representative Kay Wolf and Representative Pat Colloton, for their efforts to save lives and prevent injuries on the state’s roadways.
On Tuesday, July 24, Discovery Fit & Health will premiere the series, DUI, on their network. The documentary-style show follows the Oklahoma Highway Patrol as they find and arrest people driving drunk, and tells the stories of the alleged offenders and their families.
Drunk driving is the most frequently committed violent crime in the U.S. In 2009, more than 1.4 million drivers were arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol or narcotics. That's less than one percent of the 147 million self-reported episodes of alcohol-impaired driving among U.S. adults each year.
We applaud Discovery Fit & Health for showcasing the lifesaving work of our heroes in law enforcement, bringing awareness to the issue of drunk driving, and showing the consequences of this violent crime.
We need your help to give crime victims the rights they deserve, but time is running out. Please call or email your United States Representative today and urge him or her to co-sponsor House Joint Resolution 106 (H. J. Res. 106), a proposed U.S. Constitutional Amendment for Victims’ Rights.
This amendment would protect the vital rights of crime victims to be notified of proceedings, to be present at proceedings, and to be heard on important decisions. Right now, every state has statutory laws and most states have state constitutional amendments protecting victims' rights, but these laws are ineffective.
Even in states giving "strong protection" to victims’ rights, fewer than 60 percent of the victims were notified of the sentencing hearing and fewer than 40 percent were notified of the pretrial release of the defendant. This is largely because defendant rights are enshrined in the federal Constitution – 23 separate rights in all – but victims' rights are state-based.
The only way that crime victims’ rights will be protected is to even the playing field through a federal constitutional amendment—House Joint Resolution 106.
Today, on its 28th anniversary, we celebrate the 21 Minimum Legal Drinking Age law, which has saved more than 25,000 lives and continues to prevent tragedies.
You may have heard a variety of arguments against the 21 Minimum Legal Drinking Age: “Lowering the drinking age will encourage more responsible drinking”, “Europeans let their kids drink at an early age, yet they do not have the alcohol-related problems we do”, and “if I’m old enough to go to war, I should be old enough to drink.” But none of these are true. Click here to see the facts behind these myths.
The age limit for alcohol is based on research which shows that young people react differently to alcohol. Teens get drunk twice as fast as adults, but have more trouble knowing when to stop. Teens naturally overdo it and binge more often than adults. Enforcing the legal drinking age of 21 reduces traffic crashes, protects young people’s maturing brains, and keeps young people safer overall. Click here to find out more reasons to support 21.
But it takes more than a law to keep our kids safe. Parents have the power to help kids make healthy decisions. In fact, research shows that parents are the primary influence on their kids’ decisions about whether or not to drink alcohol. That’s why MADD launched the Power of Parents™ program. The goal of the program is to educate parents about the dangers of underage drinking and give them the tools they need to start talking with their kids about alcohol. The program has two major parts:
- A website for parents that includes information and tips based on the best available research, along with access to a free parent handbook.
- Free parent workshops to equip parents with strategies for having these potentially lifesaving conversations.
MADD knows that informed, caring parents can make a difference, and we’re here to help. So today, in honor of the anniversary of the 21 drinking legal drinking age, talk with your kids about the dangers of underage drinking. Start by visit the parent section of our website to get the handbook and other tips and expert resources for talking with your kids about alcohol.