May 7, 1999
(202) 628-2700 Ext. 158
VIETNAM VETERANS OF AMERICA TO LAUNCH SECOND ANTI-DRUG CAMPAIGN
Vietnam Veterans of America National President George C. Duggins, in
conjunction with the Congressional Medal of Honor Society, will launch
the second Veterans Against Drugs pilot program in Union County, New Jersey,
on Tuesday, May 11, 1999.
Community leaders and Union County officials, lead by Union County Sheriff
Ralph Froehlich, have invited Vietnam Veterans of America to assist in
reducing the effects of drugs and violence on local youth. County
members invited the veterans after hearing about the project that was initiated
in Kern County California in November, 1998. The community was impressed
with the Veterans Against Drugs campaign concepts which build an infrastructure
from existing local youth services and outreach programs while coupling
classroom instruction, taught by volunteer veterans, to the five core values
central to the campaign.
Congressional Medal of Honor recipients help launch the program by visiting
classrooms to speak to young people about their experiences while encouraging
these students to "Commit To Life," which is the theme of the Veterans
Against Drugs campaign. Follow-on visits are conducted by veterans
throughout the school year where the core values of camaraderie, compassion,
integrity, meaningful achievement and advocacy are taught to the students.
In addition to these volunteers teaching students in the classrooms,
veterans work with city, country and state officials, as well as private
organizations, to strengthen existing youth outreach programs. Those
assets are then organized into a collaborative where consolidated efforts
are focused upon providing youth with positive environments in which to
study, play and receive adult supervision outside of school hours, especially
during times when parents are at work..
The Veterans Against Drugs pilot programs are continually monitored
by community officials to compile "lessons learned." Both positive
and negative findings are collected for use by other communities desiring
to replicate the programs nationwide.
Point of contact for additional information is Michael Murray at (908)
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Vietnam Veterans of America (VVA) is the nation's
only congressionally chartered veterans service organization dedicated
solely to the needs of Vietnam-era veterans and their families. VVA's
founding principle is
"Never again will one generation of veterans