The holiday season is upon us.

We here at The Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility approach this season with caution. Though this is always a special time, it’s also one when drunk driving and underage drinking can be at their most prevalent. 

We all have the power to stop drunk driving and underage drinking in our own communities. Be a responsible host,  don’t serve anyone under the legal drinking age, and ensure that folks have a safe ride home.  We can all play a part in making our communities healthier and safer.

One man, taking personal tragedy as his inspiration, has done far more than most to ensure that his community his safe. Leo McCarthy’s daughter Mariah was hit and killed by a car in 2007 as she was walking home.  The driver, just 20 years old, was drunk. At her memorial service, Leo made a promise to the teenagers attending: If they said no to drugs or and underage drinking for four years, he would help them pay for college.

Out of that promise grew a national scholarship program. Those who pledge to take Mariah’s Challenge and maintain a clear record are eligible to submit an application for a scholarship. To date, there have been over 140 recipients.

Leo McCarthy’s fight against drunk driving and underage drinking took its inspiration from a moment of tragedy – but today, it allows many more to give thanks. We’d like to join them in thanking Leo McCarthy for the enormous positive impact his efforts have had.

Do you know someone in your community who's making a difference? Let us know in the comments.