Cindy Speaker: Good afternoon everyone. My name is Cindy Speaker, and I had with me as my guest today, attorney David Daggett of Daggett Shuler Attorneys at Law. David, how you doing today?
David Daggett: Good, Cindy. Thank you for having me on. Try to hold me down, I’m getting kind of excited.
Cindy Speaker: Ah, well that’s good. We like your excitement, that’s a good thing, and you have reason to be. We’re going to talk about the 30th anniversary of the Safe Sober Prom Night. So how does that feel, David?
David Daggett: It makes me feel like I’m 30 years older than 30, because I was 30 when we started it.
Cindy Speaker: How about that?
David Daggett: Yeah, yeah, yeah. No, it’s really exciting. The 30th anniversary of the Safe Sober Prom Night program, we’re getting ready to kick off. Lots of exciting things coming just in the coming days. I don’t want to give any tips as to when and where, but we got some exciting things coming.
David Daggett: But the big thing is the Safe Sober Prom Night program, when we started at 30 years ago it wasn’t the cool thing to do. You’ve heard me tell the story before, how when we would go out, I would have to literally grab students’ hands to make them sign the pledge not to drink or use drugs on prom night. The T-shirts we gave out, they’d quickly stick them inside their jacket or stuff them in their book bag cause it wasn’t cool to have. Today, we tell our volunteers … You’re going to make me tear up again, Cindy. I tell volunteers, “You got to be ready and stand back because we’re going to have an avalanche of students.” When the bell rings, the students come down, they’re excited, many of them put the T-shirt on right then and there.
Cindy Speaker: Wow.
David Daggett: It’s a badge of honor to wear around the school. It’s taken 30 years, but Safe Sober Prom Night’s become cool, and we’re excited about that.
Cindy Speaker: You should be, that is so awesome. I mean, David, they kind of hunt you down when you guys come in.
David Daggett: Oh, absolutely. Absolutely. In fact, I now carry T-shirts in my car and I have some at home because students stop me and I’ll sign them up anytime, any place, anywhere to help encourage and support our students.
Cindy Speaker: That’s fantastic.
David Daggett: The thing about our young people, Cindy, which I know the passion that you have for young people also and they work with you, is I think they’re the best, the brightest, the most talented we’ve ever had.
Cindy Speaker: I agree.
David Daggett: What they don’t have, a lot of them, on an ongoing and with continuity is leadership, guidance and direction from adults. That’s what they need, they need it from all of us, is leadership, guidance and direction. Sometimes when I put my arm around a guy twice my size and give him a noogie on the head, they beam a great big smile because I’m the first adult outside their regular circle of influence that’s ever paid any attention to them. I think the folks our age all need to realize just how meaningful that is to our young.
Cindy Speaker: Yeah, yeah. I agree. David, what’s been your favorite part of Safe Sober? That’s a hard one.
David Daggett: No, actually it’s an easy one.
Cindy Speaker: Oh, okay.
David Daggett: My favorite part are those hundreds of thousands of one-on-one interactions with the young people.
Cindy Speaker: Wow.
David Daggett: Each and every one of them. Made me choke up again. Every one of them is very special. They all have their own unique story. Many of them are so thirsty for some outside guidance, and if this program provides them that much or gives them a kickstart, more power to it. It really has become much, much more than don’t just drink and drive on prom night. It’s become a program of leadership, guidance, and direction for our young people.
Cindy Speaker: Yeah, yeah.
David Daggett: I think many of them take it very, very seriously and they have a positive influence on each other. One of our pillars is the positive peer pressure. Peer pressure’s an interesting thing because we tend to think of it, as parents and adults, as a negative influence. While sometimes that’s true, it’s interesting, you can turn it just like that. If you make it a positive influence, there’s a geometrical progression that occurs that is just beautiful to watch and to see. We get to see it over and over and over and over. In the next couple months we’re going to be awful busy seeing it over and over, but it’s a beautiful thing to see.
Cindy Speaker: Yeah, yeah. That’s a-
David Daggett: Hey, can I ask Catherine a question quick?
Cindy Speaker: Of course, yeah.
David Daggett: Can I tell them about April 17?
David Daggett: Oh, so we’ve got a real cool surprise coming in. This is going to be around and people may be starting to hear about it. The first weekend home game of the Winston-Salem Dash, which is one of their biggest nights of the year, they’ll have fireworks and everything else, that’s going to be Safe Sober Prom Night night at the ballpark.
Cindy Speaker: Oh, wow.
David Daggett: So everything at the ballpark, including the uniforms that the players wear, are going to be Safe Sober Prom Night uniforms.
Cindy Speaker: Oh, that’s fantastic.
David Daggett: Oh, it’s going to be cool. It’s going to be cool.
Cindy Speaker: That is exciting.
David Daggett: In fact, the jerseys that they wear … How many of those are there going to be? Those are going to be like gold. I don’t know how many players are on the team, 25, 30. Those are going to be like gold. We have some special things in store to do with the jerseys after the game, and so it’s going to be a lot of fun.
Cindy Speaker: Oh that’s fantastic.
David Daggett: Yeah.
Cindy Speaker: Most people in your community and the surrounding area know about Safe Sober Prom Night, but just give us a little recap of what that is for any listeners that may not be completely familiar with the program.
David Daggett: Sure, sure. By the way, I’ve had the opportunity to speak on the program nationally, several times, the Association of Trial Lawyers meeting, the National Sheriff’s Association meeting, you have 5,000 sheriffs in attendance, medical conferences and advertising conferences, so a number of different places. But Safe Sober Prom Night, we’ve really tried to make it a very simple. It’s a pledge not to drink or use drugs on prom night. In return, the students get a T-shirt to wear/.
David Daggett: There’s basically three points to it. One is awareness, awareness of the dangers of drugs and alcohol. That’s for the students. For the adults, because we have kind of parallel programs and speak to adults also, for adults, it’s awareness of the issues that our young people are going through these days, awareness that the single most significant factor in the success of a young person is having one person outside their immediate family take a special interest in them. We’ve got to be aware of that as a community as we move forward. So awareness is number one. Number two is positive peer pressure. We talked about that already. It’s a very, very powerful force. We encourage that and get that going throughout the community. It’s contagious and it’s contagious in a very positive way.
David Daggett: Then lastly is an opportunity for the greater community to wrap their arms of encouragement and support around our young people. Over 30 years, it’s not just the young people that know about the program. Everybody in our community knows about the program, so when the students are out before prom, they’re much more likely to get an encouraging a word from others who are out at the restaurants or what have you. Or when the students were wearing their T-shirts around town, much more likely to get an encouraging word. We now have teachers who run us over to get T-shirts also.
Cindy Speaker: That’s great.
David Daggett: In fact, we have a school or two that the teachers all come by our office, get T-shirts in advance of pledge day so they can be wearing them at their school to support the kids.
Cindy Speaker: Wow, that’s awesome.
David Daggett: And in getting that support, everybody wrapping their arms, figuratively, but sometimes literally, around our young people, very, very meaningful.
Cindy Speaker: Yeah.
David Daggett: So if-
Cindy Speaker: David tell me how many … Go ahead.
David Daggett: If you didn’t notice, I got a passion for it.
Cindy Speaker: I know you do and I love it. Tell us how many T-shirts you order.
David Daggett: 15,000.
Cindy Speaker: 15,000 T-shirts.
David Daggett: Right.
Cindy Speaker: That’s amazing.
David Daggett: And I think we’re in 49 high schools? 52 high schools last year.
Cindy Speaker: Wow, wow.
David Daggett: And I went to every one.
Cindy Speaker: Did you really?
David Daggett: Yes, yes.
Cindy Speaker: That is incredible.
David Daggett: Yeah.
Cindy Speaker: That’s just incredible.
David Daggett: Yeah.
Cindy Speaker: How do you keep this going for 30 years? What is the secret? Because frankly, there’s not many people that keep anything going for 30 years.
David Daggett: Right. It’s a very unique program. It is the largest and longest running privately-funded initiative of its type in the United States, which probably also means the world. The only way you can keep something like this going is passion, quite frankly. You have to have individuals that are drivers and get it going. The folks in our firm and me, it’s part of the culture here at Daggett Shuler. It’s very meaningful to our entire team.
Cindy Speaker: Yeah, yeah. And you’re not only impacting the students, you’re impacting your staff and your team, because I’ve seen the passion. They have the passion too, and in a lot of ways, it’s almost like I think you mentor the employees and they become mentors as well. So you’re doing a lot more than just reaching students.
David Daggett: No, no, that’s true. It’s interesting to me, and I don’t want to knock other businesses and other law firms or that sort of thing, but the question I get is how much does it cost. The dollars, that’s not the significant part. It’s the individual action, and once I describe what’s involved, most back away.
David Daggett: The interesting thing is we were a little bit ahead of the curve because now, business school research, at the Wharton School at U Penn near you, at Harvard Business School, at MIT Graduate Business School, their research is all showing that the culture of a business, the quality and character of the relationships within the business are as, or more, important than looking at the numbers on the financial statements.
Cindy Speaker: Wow.
David Daggett: I think things like this help make employees in a business proud of where they work and engagement, and it gives them a feeling that they’re participating in giving back. Not all places have a vehicle in the company that they’re with, a vehicle with which to let out those desires and needs that you have as a human being. When you can combine that with a business, it infuses extra passion into the whole organization, and I think that’s important.
Cindy Speaker: I do, too. I think it’s fantastic, and congratulations on 30 years. It’s tremendous. It really is.
David Daggett: Yeah. Hey, wait, we’ve got at least 30 more in us.
Cindy Speaker: There you go, there you go. I believe it.
David Daggett: Yep.
Cindy Speaker: Well, David, if anybody wants to reach out to you or your firm, how can they do that?
David Daggett: Yep. Well, they can go to our website and go DaggettShulerLaw.com, also SafeSober.com and they’ll learn more about Safe Sober Prom Night, or call us at 336-724-1234.
Cindy Speaker: Very good.
David Daggett: Yep.
Cindy Speaker: For those of you listening, either live or by replay, if you have a question, reach out to David. He’s very responsive.
David Daggett: Absolutely.
Cindy Speaker: David, thanks so much.
David Daggett: Thank you, Cindy. Have a good day. Bye-bye.
Cindy Speaker: You too. Thanks everybody for listening, we’ll see you again soon. Bye now.