My son, Dustin had a lot going for him. Like a lot of young people today, his future was just as bright; just as hopeful as any other high school student his age. But all that promise disappeared in a flash one evening when he got into the car with an underage drugged and drunk driver. The car went off a bridge and sank into a river.

Dustin drowned, and his future with him.

Related: Honoring Dustin

Power of You(th) Facebook frame

Power of You(th) Facebook frame

That doesn’t have to be you

If I have one wish after my son’s needless and senseless death, it is to empower youth and parents to help keep teens away from alcohol. That’s why I am proud that as a part of our October activation of the Power of You(th) program, sponsored by State Farm, we are encouraging youth and parents to add a #ProtectUrFuture frame to their profile photos and visit powerofyouth.com to read tips and real-life stories regarding underage drinking.

The science is clear, underage drinking is dangerous and often deadly. It increases the risk of brain damage in adolescents. And students who binge drink are more likely to do poorly in school, participate in dangerous activities and even commit suicide. In one way or another, underage drinking kills about 4,300 youth every year.

The good news is that there is a solution. And it is a simple solution: More conversations with teens about the several consequences of alcohol.

Whoever YOU are, whether a parent or a young person, you have the power to make a difference.

Every year, we promote our Power of You(th) message and encourage kids to take their future into their own hands and guard it by saying no to underage drinking. But to start a movement, we need everyone to take part.

Alcohol and teens

Power of You(th) stat

At powerofyouth.com, we have all the materials you need to start a lifesaving dialogue with the youth in your life whether they’re friends or family members.

Our #ProtectUrFuture hashtag is about how choices about alcohol can impact our youth’s future such as being kicked off a sports team, not being able to attend the college of their choice or losing a college sponsorship and having an arrest on their records. Tragically, there are also life-altering consequences such as alcohol poisoning and teen drunk driving.

Promise me that you’ll #ProtectUrFuture

Dustin never saw what his future held. I sometimes wonder what he would have become. Therefore, my heartfelt desire for the next generation of drivers to have it all. I want YOU to make it to tomorrow. I want YOU to achieve your dreams and pursue your goals. I want YOU to see what life has to offer.

And, the first step to seeing tomorrow is making the right choice today.

Stand with me by adding this frame to your profile picture on Facebook and visiting powerofyouth.com and commit to saying no to alcohol until the age of 21. Promise me that you will #ProtectUrFuture.