No. 007-99  
IMMEDIATE RELEASE                              May 7, 1999                         (202) 628-2700 Ext. 158 

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) 527-4745.


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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 abandon another." 

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