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Riding the drug-free wave into every school in America

April 29, 2010

In advance of Red Ribbon Week, the Sundt Memorial Foundation has completed its final mailing of its latest substance abuse video, Natural High 2 Riding the Drug-Free Wave to nearly 50,000 schools—reaching its goal of distributing one DVD to every school in America.  The video features action sports champions and Hip Hop dancers who share powerful stories about what it’s like to lead a fun, exciting, and successful life without drugs or alcohol. Thousands of schools have received Natural High 2 and millions of young people have been impacted.

The goal for the 20-minute video is unprecedented: Distribute a free copy to every public, private, and alternative school in the country (with a fifth grade or higher).  This means sending a video to 114,000 schools with the hope of reaching 31,000,000 kids.  Last September, the Foundation sent 15,000 videos to schools in the western United States. A second mailing included most of the Midwest and this final mailing completes the eastern part of the country.

Tony Hawk, 12-time world skateboard champion, is the host of the video. It also showcases Kelly Clark, champion snowboarder; Travis Pastrana, motocross stunt champion; Laird Hamilton, surfing legend; Wendy Fisher, extreme skier champion; Hip Hop sensation “Mr. Wiggles,” and many more.

Celebrities in the video dazzle onlookers with breathtaking feats, but they also inspire students to seek healthy goals and activities.  They urge students to do well in school, make smart decisions, and avoid destructive behavior.  They encourage students to unleash their potential and pursue their dreams.  And they implore students to avoid the perils that trapped some of their friends—loneliness and the wasting away of great talent.

Barry McCaffrey, former Drug Czar under President Clinton, applauds the video.  He says, “A superb video.  If you show your kids only one substance abuse prevention video this year, make it Natural High 2. Your young people will remember.”

Natural High 2 is getting people’s attention because it’s different than other anti-drug videos.  “It’s a new wave of American role models delivering positive anti-drug messages.  There are no death statistics, no scare tactics.  And kids from all walks of life with all types of interests find the positive messages compelling,” says Michelle Ahearne, Director of the Sundt Memorial Foundation, the nonprofit that produced the video and manages Sundtmemorial.org and Drugfreewave.com.

The Foundation has testimony after testimony that students are responding to the video’s positive anti-drug messages.  After watching Natural High 2, a junior high student from Hawaii said, “I finally realized I won’t achieve any of my goals if I do drugs!”  A senior high student from Arizona said, “I learned that it’s important to have big dreams and surround yourself with friends who will keep you motivated—not people who don’t care about you and push you to do something wrong.”

Teachers are also praising the video.  “Natural High 2 kept their attention and sparked true life circumstances students have faced.”  “I showed the video to 5th and 6th graders and used it for Red Ribbon Week—it was a great way to reinforce anti-drug messages without having to teach an entire anti-drug unit.”  “Natural High 2 is the first substance abuse video I’ve received in the mail that was worth anything.  I expected the same old song and dance, but this was right on target!”

The Foundation’s president knows what works because he’s been fine-tuning the approach for more than a decade.  “We use the same top athletes and role models Madison Avenue uses to sell tennis shoes and soft drinks to create compelling, “cool,” and positive messages to steer kids clear of drug and alcohol use,” says Jon Sundt, who started the Sundt Memorial Foundation in 1994, after two of his brothers died of substance abuse.

“Students who won’t listen to their parents or teachers will often listen to role models they revere.  Every year, we want to produce a Natural High video and give 31,000,000 kids the chance to hear what their role models have to say about substance abuse,” exclaims Sundt.

The interactive DVD and DrugFreeWave.com offer free, comprehensive discussion guides that go along with Natural High 2.  They can be used to stimulate thought-provoking discussions with students, and teachers can use them as tools in their literacy programs.  Also included: fact sheets, useful resources, and crisis hotline numbers.

Natural High 2 videos are distributed to schools free of charge.  However, copies of the video are available to the public at SundtMemorial.org or DrugFreeWave.com for $20.  All sales support the production and distribution of future videos.

Natural High 2

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