WASHINGTON, DC— The Century Council’s Ask, Listen, Learn: Kids and Alcohol Don’t Mix program has made leaps and bounds since its creation in 2004. Throughout development, the program has reached millions of kids and the mission remains unchanged, to facilitate the conversation between kids and caregivers about the dangers of underage drinking. With the new components including materials, an interactive game, resources for parents and teachers, and an expanding list of inspirational SuperStars, it’s no wonder kids are taking the concern seriously and parents are finding the tools to talk with their kids.
The latest developments in the program are new print and online materials that The Century Council created in conjunction with Scholastic. Early in March, timed in preparation for Alcohol Awareness Month in April, over 23,000 middle school health teachers received Scholastic materials spreading the message of Ask, Listen, Learn. Additionally, an email blast will be sent to 50,000 target teachers by May 2011. The co-branded materials consist of a teacher wrap, student magazine, and poster. Through the materials, kids and teachers will learn about living a healthy life that includes making smart choices for your mind and body as well as saying no to underage drinking. Kids are also encouraged to take their student magazines home to their parents to help facilitate the discussion between parents and kids. Adding to The Century Council’s existing site, www.asklistenlearn.com, a microsite has been launched where kids can download materials, play games, and learn more about the dangers of underage drinking.
In addition to the Scholastic materials, The Century Council is extremely proud to welcome our latest partners to the Ask, Listen, Learn program, Olympic Track and Field stars Lolo Jones and Tyson Gay. Both athletes recognize the importance of living a healthy lifestyle which includes saying no to underage drinking. Lolo is the current holder of the World Indoor Hurdles Champion Title and Tyson is a triple world champion in the 100 and 200-meter dash as well as the 4x100-meter relay. Both Lolo and Tyson will be working throughout the year to spread the message of the Ask, Listen, Learn program while inspiring kids to pursue their dreams whether in the classroom, their community or on the sports field.
The list of SuperStars not only includes outstanding athletes, but also includes community and classroom SuperStars. Our latest community SuperStar is Remmi Smith. Remmi is the star of “Cook Time with Remmi” and “The Culinary Kid,” both shows encourage kids to take her C.H.E.F. Challenge, which is to Cook Healthy and Exercise Frequently. Remmi’s goal is to inspire kids to make healthful decisions throughout the day which supports the Ask, Listen, Learn message.
“I am excited to be working with The Century Council to promote Ask, Listen, Learn. The decisions made while you are young heavily influence where you will end up in the future. Many of the decisions I have made off of the track have contributed to my success,” said Lolo Jones, “I truly believe that healthy habits and positive choices start during childhood which is why I have decided to work with The Century Council. It is incredibly important to talk to kids about saying ‘yes to healthy lifestyle and no to underage drinking.’”
Our existing program isn’t slowing down by any means in 2011. With the addition of the new SuperStars and print materials, The Century Council already has events planned year. We will again hold our annual Capitol Hill Event on Take Our Sons and Daughters to Work Day. This year The Century Council will have a gameshow themed event to take place in the Cannon House Office Building Caucus Room on April 28th. These events will extend the reach of Ask, Listen, Learn to even more parents and kids.
The new elements to the Ask, Listen, Learn program build on the existing program. The interactive game further encourages kids to “say ‘YES’ to a healthy lifestyle and ‘NO’ to underage drinking.” The initiative is based on recent 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 game, and supporting website and materials, encourage kids to live a healthy lifestyle.
Ask, Listen, Learn has also added a new and improved Parent and Teachers section to its website which provides parents and teachers with resources to get the conversation about underage drinking started with kids. Recognizing that this is a difficult topic, the provided resources come in a variety of ways: printable and orderable materials, tips on when and how to start the conversation and establishing your values, answers to the tough questions kids will probably ask, and suggestions on ways to help kids say “NO” to underage drinking when faced with pressure from their peers. The blog also provides updates and fun suggestions for things to do with kids that keep them healthy and active.
“Parents wield the most influence over a teen’s decision to drink, or not to drink, alcohol. Independent research conducted in 2010 showed our Ask, Listen, Learn program is effective at reaching kids. We are proud to continue to work on expanding our program in order to reach more kids and parents on the risks of underage drinking and the importance of living a healthy lifestyle,” Ralph Blackman, President and CEO of The Century Council.
The Century Council
The Century Council is a national not-for-profit organization dedicated to fighting drunk driving and underage drinking and is funded by the following distillers: Bacardi U.S.A., Inc.; Beam Global Spirits & Wine, Inc.; Brown-Forman; Constellation Brands, Inc.; DIAGEO; Hood River Distillers, Inc.; Pernod Ricard USA; and Sidney Frank Importing Co., Inc. Headquartered in Arlington, Virginia and chaired by Susan Molinari, The Century Council is a leader in the fight to eliminate drunk driving and underage drinking and promotes responsible decision making regarding beverage alcohol. The Century Council develops and implements innovative programs and public awareness campaigns and promotes action through strategic partnerships. Established in 1991, The Century Council’s initiatives are highlighted on its website at www.centurycouncil.org.
Ask, Listen, Learn
Also online, Ask, Listen, Learn’s website, www.asklistenlearn.com, encourages kids to pledge to make healthy choices. The website features “SuperStars” including Apolo Anton Ohno, Lolo Jones, and Remmi Smith who send positive messages to kids about staying fit and healthy. Community, Academic and Athletic superstars all explain why it’s important to say “no” to underage drinking. The website also provides parents with information and strategies to help jumpstart the conversation about the dangers of underage drinking.
Jessica Lepak, The Century Council
LepakJ@CenturyCouncil.org, or (202) 637-0077