Cindy Speaker: Good afternoon, and welcome to our Facebook Live broadcast today. My name is Cindy Speaker and I have with me today, David Daggett. David Daggett is among other things, he’s an attorney, he’s an Iron Man triathlete, and he’s also co-founder, one of the founders of the Safe Sober Prom Night Program. We’re going to talk with David about this amazing program that impacts high school students throughout both North and South Carolina. David, thanks for being with us today.
David Daggett: Thank you Cindy, thanks for having me.
Cindy Speaker: Yes. Well you’re into busy season right now. Tell us a little bit about this program.
David Daggett: Well, we’re getting ready to start up our 27th year of the Safe Sober Prom Night Program, which is basically founded on very simple principle of getting students to sign a pledge card, promising not to drink or use drugs on prom night, and in return they get a free T-shirt. It’s as simple as that.
Cindy Speaker: Very cool. Okay, tell us about the T-shirt. What kind of T-shirt do they get?
David Daggett: Well, we have a T-shirt design contest. It’s a student designed T-shirt, very colorful, it’s going to be very popular this year. You can actually see photos of it here on the Facebook page. The photos are starting to float around the internet. We actually had the mayor of the city of Winston Salem there, to help us with the classroom surprise, so that was a whole lot of fun.
Cindy Speaker: Oh wow, that’s awesome.
David Daggett: Yes, yes.
Cindy Speaker: Okay, so the students are actually designing these T-shirts?
David Daggett: Yes, yeah. That’s a fundamental part of the project, because what we want to do is engage the students, let them own this. One of the real anchors of the program is what I call, “Positive peer pressure.” The positive peer pressure is the students actually put on the shirts, and wear them, and wear them with pride. That’s a little more powerful when the students have designed them, instead of sending them off to some ad agency, or a corporate business, or something like that.
Cindy Speaker: Absolutely, that makes a huge difference.
David Daggett: Sure.
Cindy Speaker: Then, now tell me about this pledge. I hear about the Safe Sober Prom Night pledge. How many students have signed that, how do you go about getting that kind of- how do you motivate the kids?
David Daggett: We personally go to close to 50 high schools in 10 counties, and we deploy teams from our office, and some volunteers. It’s one student at a time, very, very fast, but one at a time, and over the years we’ve now gone over half a million students who’ve signed that pledge.
Cindy Speaker: Wow.
David Daggett: In 27 years, you gotta remember. Some of those kids were 18 when they signed the pledge the first year. We now have grandkids of those first pledge signers making their way into high school.
Cindy Speaker: That’s amazing.
David Daggett: Yeah, it’s pretty exciting, yes.
Cindy Speaker: Well, the other thing is that means you’re getting old David.
David Daggett: That’s what everybody says.
Cindy Speaker: Yeah, yeah. Well it’s a phenomenal program. I’ve seen you in action, and you are a very passionate person. I know you really have a heart for these high school kids. Tell me a little bit about how you impact high school kids. I’ve found over the years, in some of the things I’ve seen, these kids are gravitating to you personally a lot of the time.
David Daggett: Well, first of all you have to have a true, genuine, authentic, passion for the young people. Young people today, I think they’re some of the best, the brightest, the most talented generation we’ve ever had. One thing about them, and I warn people who want to go out and do quote, “Marketing stunts,” in schools, and that sort of thing. Students see through as to whether or not you’re genuine and authentic very, very quickly. They don’t like fakes or phonies.
Cindy Speaker: Right.
David Daggett: They don’t like it.
Cindy Speaker: Yeah, it’s all about authenticity.
David Daggett: It’s all about authenticity. Now, the one thing that I’ve been able to do, you said this briefly in the introduction, is I’ve been able to weave in my athletic accomplishments, and all my Iron Man finishes, and those sort of things. Iron Man World Championship finishes, and engage the students in a way that’s pretty powerful. Sometimes that’s a one on one, sometimes that’s a single class room, sometimes that’s an auditorium up to 2,000 students at a time. It’s an ongoing passion.
The students relate to stories. I guess we all do. I’ve got some good Iron Man stories, both on the positive side, and on the negative side.
Cindy Speaker: Yeah, yeah.
David Daggett: Then they enjoy hearing them. Then relate that to where they are at their stage in life, right? What one of the lessons I always leave them with, because a lot of kids have a lot of struggles. They have more struggles today.
Cindy Speaker: I think more so now than when we were growing up.
David Daggett: I don’t know if it’s more so or more aware of it, but either way there’s a lot of struggles. One thing that seems to relate to them is tell them some of the stories about how I’ve had rough days. If you know where you’re going, you keep your eye on the goal, you keep putting one foot in front of the other, making progress. Start from where you are, not where you want to be. Where you are, and let’s move forward to where we want to be. Everybody can relate to that.
Cindy Speaker: Yeah, absolutely. I want to mention something because I believe I read this weekend, that you were just at the Puerto Rican, was it in Puerto Rico, a Iron Man finish, and I believe you did extremely well. I think you came in first.
David Daggett: Yes, yes, I had a good day.
Cindy Speaker: Okay, that’s a real good day, that’s a real good day. Let me ask you a couple of things.
David Daggett: You called me an old man earlier.
Cindy Speaker: Well you are.
David Daggett: The old man gets fired up every now and then still.
Cindy Speaker: Right, no, absolutely. Keep in mind I’m a couple years older than you.
David Daggett: Close.
Cindy Speaker: I can’t say too much. Yeah, one of the things that I’ve seen is because of your passion and love of these high schools, and impacting young people, there’s kind of been some offshoots in what you do, relative to high school students. Some of it is very closely tied to Safe Sober Prom Night, but talk a little bit about some of the things, the other things that you do with young people.
David Daggett: How long are we on here today?
Cindy Speaker: As long as you want.
David Daggett: I’ve worked with young people in lots of different areas. At church, at church camps, those sort of things. I’ve also been pretty passionately involved in organizations like Big Brothers, Big Sisters, which I think is a wonderful organization, and has a real impact on the positive future in our communities. This weekend I’m doing an event with the Down Syndrome Association. Saturday morning at nine o’clock, out at the fairgrounds. Fabulous event, one oft he more rewarding things that I do. My favorite cousin who passed away a couple years ago, had down syndrome. I have a real passion for them, so get to help in that way.
Then, I’ve been known to stop them going down the street, and talking to them. Ask them what their grades are, and just stay in touch. I also bomb my kids classrooms every now and then. They sometimes appreciate that, they sometimes don’t.
Cindy Speaker: We should be restored in a minute. Okay, you just came back on. We had a little glitch there.
David Daggett: I think things go on, I don’t know.
Cindy Speaker: I don’t know, I think it was still going. I had a little glitch there for a minute. I want to ask you about something else. Here’s the thing David, and I’ve known you for a long time, and I know I say that often. I’m proud to know you, I really am. One of the things that I see is the way that you live your life. You are truly a role model to these young people, and it’s really exciting. I love hearing about your work, I love hearing about the impact. One of the programs that you do in the high schools that I think is fantastic, is the Choose Success, when you do the Choose Success class. Can you just talk a little bit about those points that you make?
David Daggett: Sure, and I’ve literally spoken hundreds of times to thousands and thousands of students, at Katherine’s here, I think it’s the week after next, I have six assemblies in two days.
Cindy Speaker: Wow.
David Daggett: That I’ll be doing. It’s basically I’ve repeated the message many, many times. Dream big, no excuses, and never, ever give up.
Cindy Speaker: Yeah.
David Daggett: If you do that, life will be very, very good to you, and take you a very, very long ways.
Cindy Speaker: Yeah, yeah. On a more somber note, one of the reasons I think you do this program, is it definitely and unfortunately relates to what you do during the day, and that is you’re an attorney. You’re a personal injury attorney. Talk a little bit about that, and kind of the link between the two.
David Daggett: Sure, we’ve seen lives shattered by one poor decision. What tends to happen with you, with me, with everybody, you see these instances in the news, and it’s someone else far, far away. Well, that’s a real thing. It’s a real tragedy for those people. I’ve held hands and cried with people who’s lives have just been shattered by one poor choice. It doesn’t just effect the person, it effects that persons parents, or siblings, or grandparents, and friends, and classmates, and teachers, the whole family tree, the whole community suffers.
A life either cut short, or that you have permanent consequences, whether that be a criminal record, or severe injuries, or what have you, from one poor choice. We try to make an impression that we have to be smart. In fact, I had a young man in my office just yesterday, talking with him. We had a talk about what I call the, “Death trap.” Good kids sometimes get caught in the death trap, in that they get an uncomfortable situation. Maybe the person they rode with has been drinking, or maybe the temptation gets too great. Whatever the case may be, that at some place, somewhere, sometime, we’re all going to face it. I’ve been there, you’ve been there, we’re all going to face that death trap.
The important thing is to make your decision now. What am I going to do when I’m faced with that situation, and what’s my plan to get out of it? If you have a plan in advance, you can handle the pressure of the death trap. If you don’t have a plan, and you haven’t thought it out in advance, the pressure, the moment can be overwhelming, which can lead to a bad choice, which can lead to a disastrous consequence.
Cindy Speaker: Yeah, David are you now both to speak- do you speak to groups along these lines with this kind of information?
David Daggett: Absolutely. I’ll go any place, anywhere, anytime and speak to young people, and this is a lot of it. I’ve spoken, I did it yesterday, one young man in my office, up to 2,000 people in an auditorium, and anything in between. Absolutely, it’s an ongoing passion. It’s been burning for more than 27 years, I assume it will keep going.
Cindy Speaker: Yeah, yeah. How would someone reach you to sign up, to have you come to their group?
David Daggett: Yeah, yeah, sure. They can call us. We put our number out there, SafeSober.com website, DaggettShulerLaw.com website, or IronManLawyer.com website.
Cindy Speaker: Yeah, give us that phone number though, give us that phone number.
David Daggett: 336-724-1234.
Cindy Speaker: Good, good.
David Daggett: Yeah, absolutely. Always available, love doing it. Give as much notice as possible.
Cindy Speaker: Yeah, exactly. You’re a busy guy.
David Daggett: I’ve spoken at high school baccalaureate services, which I really enjoy. Just got an invite to another one of those this week.
Cindy Speaker: Oh, that’s great.
David Daggett: Yeah, yeah. It’s good. Proud of all the young people today. What we all need to do is wrap our arms, and encouragement and support around them. It makes all of our futures better.
Cindy Speaker: Yes, I agree. I agree. Well congratulations on your Safe Sober Prom Night program, I think it’s an amazing program. I know you’re hot and heavy so you’re probably onto your next thing. Thanks for taking a minute to talk with us today.
David Daggett: Great, thanks Cindy, great seeing you. Bye.
Cindy Speaker: Okay, until next time everybody. Thanks for joining us, we’ll talk to you again soon. Go out and have a great rest of your day.