Cindy Speaker: Good afternoon and welcome to our broadcast today. My name is Cindy Speaker. I have with me as my guest attorney David Daggett of Daggett Shuler Attorney’s at Law.
David Daggett: Thank you so much it’s good to see you.
Cindy Speaker: Well, we’re gonna talk about one of your favorite topics today, your very successful Safe Sober Prom Night Program and I think it’s about ready to start up again.
David Daggett: Yeah, so I’m on pins and needles this is an exciting time of year. We’re getting ready to get everything rolling. Everything is in the works. There is a lot of behind-the-scenes activity. And so yes, very, very exciting.
Cindy Speaker: So tell us a little bit about that program. What it’s all about? How long you’ve been doing it as well?
David Daggett: Sure, so well how long we’ve been doing it. This is the 28th year of Safe Sober Prom Night. I can’t believe how fast time has gone. In fact, if I think if you look at safesober.com there’s some photos of me from the very first year, which that dates me a little bit and you can tell it’s been a while but 28 years, which significantly … We’ve been informed that Safe Sober Prom Night is the largest and longest running private running initiative of its type in the United States.
And if it’s the largest running in the United States, it’s probably the largest and longest running in the world.
Cindy Speaker: Isn’t that something.
David Daggett: So that’s pretty cool.
Cindy Speaker: It sure is.
David Daggett: And I tell you what’s really neat. Over the 28 years, there has been a big change. The getting kids … The basis of the program is you sign a pledge not to use drugs or alcohol on prom night and in return, you get a free t-shirt. 28 years ago, I literally had to grab up students by the hand bring them up to the table, help them write their name. They would immediately take their et-shirt and hide it in their jacket or their book bag or something because it wasn’t the cool thing to do.
Fast forward we now have to tell our volunteers when they go out, when the bell rings stand back because there is literally a stampede of students to get their et-shirts. Many of them put it on right then and there to wear them around school and it’s become a badge of honor of sorts for students to do that.
Cindy Speaker: That is great.
David Daggett: And that’s pretty rewarding. Sometimes you see newspaper articles. We recently in a newspaper, had a student away at college, a college athlete they interviewed him on the practice field. He’s wearing a Safe Sober Prom Night et-shirt. So it’s become a cool thing to pass along and that kind of goes along right with what our founding principles were and are because times have changed kids have changed, methods have changed, the principles are kind of those timeless principles.
One is the ongoing awareness of the dangers of drugs and alcohol. And that’s just something that we need constant reminders about. Not only for young people but for adults too. But the ongoing awareness. It’s interesting when we started the program, I thought we would wave a magic wand and we would solve teenage drinking and driving issues and we’d be done. Remember this is before I even had kids.
It didn’t dawn on me that the students graduate and you have a whole new crop coming through. So the job of raising awareness and in a nice way constantly reminding students of the dangers that are out there. That’s number one. Number two is creating an atmosphere of positive peer pressure. Young people today and I suppose you and I were also Cindy, there’s enormous pressure going through school. Everything from the way I look and dress to the way I talk to the way I do my hair. Everything creates enormous pressure and today’s time families have money pressure and family dynamic pressure and where can I got to school for college pressure and the finances of all that.
And that pressure is unrelenting on young people. The good news is if you can turn that pressure into positive peer pressure, it’s just as powerful and what we have seen is through the et-shirts, just through the excitement that the Safe Sober Prom Night Program causes that we get that positive peer pressure going. That’s also backed up by research that four and ten students that hear a positive message make better choices.
And so giving them that positive message on an ongoing basis and surrounding them with other students, who are thinking in a positive manner very, very powerful.
Third, is we try to involve the community to wrap our collective arms of encouragement and support around our young people. It’s difficult times. We all know it’s difficult times. There’s difficult things in the news. The flip side is now with my gray hair, I’ve been around a long time and I can tell you that today’s student’s they’re the best, they’re the brightest, they’re the most motivated. But what they need from us and that’s all of us in the community is they need that ongoing leadership, guidance, direction, put them on the track to success because they want to make the world a better place and with our encouragement they can do that.
In some way I think the Safe Sober Prom Night Program is a small piece of doing that, that his helping our communities for the future. One of my favorite Martin Luther King, Jr. quotes is, “That if each of us just loves one other child as much as we love our own … ” And you’re one the best at this Cindy. If each of us does that then you solve all problems. And so that’s our way of reaching out and doing that.
Cindy Speaker: That’s a great quote.
David Daggett: I love it. I love it.
Cindy Speaker: And David, I know when you go into the schools, you love to talk to the kids. Tell us a little bit about those on sight visits and what comes along during those times.
David Daggett: So Kathryn, in my office, she’s my boss and keep me on track as you know. She calculated that last year I made 93 different appearances, presentations, what have you and a lot of its just an innate passion that I have and collectively our organization has for young people and for the community. But the students, they know me know. I’ve done coaching in the area, those sort of things. They see me in different venues and the conversations are everything from giving them a headlock and noogies and trying to get them in line, to serious talks about drugs, alcohol, sex. All the things that can take your dreams and just throw them off track before you even get started.
So we have an awful lot of fun. They joke with me. The one time they were getting on me pretty good and I asked who the best athlete in the high school was and they said he was right over here. So he was going to college on a basketball scholarship. So I ripped my jacket and challenged him to a push up contest and to which, everybody, including Catherine was shocked when I hit the floor and beat this kid in a push-up contest.
So we have some fun and it’s just spreading that positive good will to your young people, giving them the encouragement and support that’s out there. That there’s another statistic that the most common denominator of successful people is they had at least one person outside their immediate family who took a person interest in them. And usually that’s a teacher or a coach or a neighbor, something like that.
When starting the program, I was young and idealistic and perhaps I still am but I really believe that our business community didn’t step up enough to help our young people and the interesting thing is I get asked by other business leaders, lots of times that they want to do something like and their question is, how much does it cost? And you can do the math, 15,000 et-shirts all the collateral, paying our staff to go out and all that sort of thing.
It’s not the monetary amount, it’s the personal time and engagement and that’s what makes the connection with young people. They don’t care about how much money you spend or anything like that. What’s really impactful is the personal time, the personal engagement and the personal passion. I just happened to love them. So for me it’s-
Cindy Speaker: I think it’s a fabulous program.
David Daggett: For me it’s easy.
Cindy Speaker: Now David, you usually bring in a big speaker and do these actually go into schools and actually do presentations in assemblies.
David Daggett: So I’ve done literally hundreds of assemblies and presentations myself. We also once a year bring in a nationally or world-renown speaker to speak to the young people and what we’ve done is the spring with prom season has gotten so busy and we have so many schools and there is so much activity. We actually moved our speaker program to the fall.
Which, to me, it’s a double win. It helps us with the logistics and timing but the other thing it does is at the beginning of the school year they get the message and the reminder in a fun stimulating sort of way and then we’re back with them during prom season with the t-shirts and the pledge signing and all those sort of things. So it kind of bookends the school year a little bit in a very, very positive way.
Cindy Speaker: Fantastic program. Oh, it’s wonderful. I just love it. I can’t wait.
David Daggett: It’s so exciting. We got the surprise for the et-shirt design contest, which is coming up very, very, very soon. And then we start hitting all the schools and it’s just wonderful. I can’t wait.
Cindy Speaker: As I said, I think it’s amazing and what the statistics you quoted in the beginning are amazing that it’s this long running and this impactful for your community.
David Daggett: And some of the student they also know me from my Iron Man racing and my athletic pursuits. Well, when I can talk Catherine into it, we throw my back into the Safe Sober Prom Night van and if she gives me time and permission. I ride my bike home from the far away schools and that’s a double bonus for me.
Cindy Speaker: That’s great. Well David as great as this program is and it is. Unfortunately you see the tragic side of these types of things sometimes.
David Daggett: And in fact, the one question you didn’t as was, why did we start it? And it came out of wanting to do something and thinking the business community needed to step up and do something and it was natural because in my job as a lawyer. Unfortunately I see both sides of the tragedy. I see a young person who in one night, one bad decision, they can affect the entire rest of their life and on the flip side, see lives that are absolutely shattered due to drunk driving and those are … both of those stores they’re equal and opposite both of them are tragic and thought we were in a unique position to try to do something about it.
Cindy Speaker: Yeah, it’s great. David if someone wants to reach you how can they do that?
David Daggett: Well, our website DaggettShulerLaw.com. There’s also SafeSober.com and of course, at our office 336-724-1234.
Cindy Speaker: Very good. Listen keep up the good work and I hope you don’t burn out here. I can’t believe all that you do.
David Daggett: I say, “The good Lord didn’t give me a whole lot but he gave me a whole lot of energy.” Well keep it going.
Cindy Speaker: That’s for sure.
David Daggett: Yep, thank you.
Cindy Speaker: Yes and to those who are watching if you have questions, comments you can leave them on this page. We’ll make sure that somebody gets back to you.
David Daggett: I’ll get back to them personally.
Cindy Speaker: Yes.
David Daggett: Absolutely
Cindy Speaker: Okay everybody, have a great day.
David Daggett: Thank you.