Bethesda, MD — Today, two-time gold medal winning gymnast Aly Raisman joined Maryland Attorney General Doug Gansler to encourage 450 students at Thomas W. Pyle Middle School to “say ‘YES’ to a healthy lifestyle and ‘NO’ to underage drinking.” As ambassador for The Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility’s Ask, Listen, Learn: Kids and Alcohol Don’t Mix program, Raisman reminded students of the importance of making healthy decisions to reach their goals in life.
This event comes just a few weeks after the premier of Ask, Listen, Learn’s PSA with Aly and her parents, Lynn and Rick Raisman. The spot highlights the fact that parents are the leading influence on kids’ decision to not drink underage and encourages families to go to AskListenLearn.com for strategies to help jumpstart the conversation about the dangers of underage drinking.
Raisman challenged a few Pyle Panthers to test their fast feet against her in the running competitions on Ask, Listen, Learn’s interactive game. The game enables middle school kids to learn about the negative consequences of underage drinking and the benefits of making healthy decisions while they exercise. The premise is based on research by Harvard Medical School’s Dr. John Ratey, showing that for a person’s brain to function at its peak, the body needs to move. The multimedia program includes the game and print materials, with the website presenting a pledge to live a healthy lifestyle, online games and pages featuring Ask, Listen, Learn Superstars.
“When I was in middle school I was faced with some of the same decisions these students are faced with today,” said Raisman. “It took a lot of hard work and dedication to become US Gymnastics Team Captain and I hope I can be a good role model for younger kids to stay on track to reach their goals.”
Attorney General Gansler was proud to join the assembly, noting “The Ask, Listen, Learn program has proven it can make a positive impact with middle schoolers across the county. The students here today are Maryland’s future – I want them to make the right decisions now to invest in happy and healthy lives when they’re older.”
Pyle Principal Jennifer Webster also praised The Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility’s efforts to reach kids on this key issue. “Our motto here at Pyle is ‘Together, Building on Excellence.’ We have brilliant young minds and bodies here, and The Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility has done a great job bringing the issue of underage drinking forward with collaborative learning on the game in the classroom and at home with family.”
“While the availability of alcohol to underage youth has continued to decline for more than a decade, 30% of adolescents say they have tried alcohol by the time they reached the eighth grade,” said Ralph Blackman of The Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility. “It’s important for parents to begin the conversation about underage drinking early and to have it often – which is exactly what we are trying to start here today at one of the largest schools in Montgomery County.”
About Ask, Listen, Learn
Ask, Listen, Learn is the most widely distributed alcohol education program of its kind. Ask, Listen, Learn’s initiatives include Asklistenlearn.com, a website that encourages kids to “say ‘YES’ to a healthy lifestyle and ‘NO’ to underage drinking” by offering kids interactive and educational games and videos. On the site kids can read about positive role models and take a pledge to make healthy choices. Parents and educators are also encouraged to visit the site to find tips on how to facilitate these conversations with kids.
About The Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility
The Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility, is a national not-for-profit leader in the fight to eliminate drunk driving and underage drinking and is funded by the following distillers: Bacardi U.S.A., Inc.; Beam, Inc.; Brown-Forman; Constellation Brands, Inc.; DIAGEO; Hood River Distillers, Inc.; and Pernod Ricard USA. Headquartered in Arlington, Virginia, The Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility promotes responsible decision making regarding beverage alcohol and develops and implements innovative programs and public awareness campaigns which ignite action through strategic partnerships. Established in 1991, The Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility’s initiatives are highlighted on its website at www.responsibility.org and www.asklistenlearn.org.