ARLINGTON, VA— Three time Olympic medalist Steven Lopez joined The Century Council to bring Ask, Listen, Learn: Kids and Alcohol Don’t Mix to students at Arlington Science Focus Elementary School today. The Century Council created an interactive, physical fitness activity that builds on the existing Ask, Listen, Learn program and encourages kids to “say ‘YES’ to a healthy lifestyle and ‘NO’ to underage drinking.” The initiative 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 interactive activity, as well as a supporting website, encourages kids to live a healthy lifestyle. The program also provides parents and caregivers with information and strategies to help jumpstart the conversation about the dangers of underage drinking.
Lopez first arrived in the United States through New York City in 1972 and eventually moved to Texas, where Steven and his family continue to reside. Lopez took up Taekwondo in his garage at the age five, being taught by his father and brother Jean.
From the family garage emerged a 2001 Lightweight Taekwondo World Champion and 2003, 2005, 2007, and 2009 Welterweight Taekwondo World Champion becoming the first Taekwondo fighter to win 5 World Championships. Lopez also went on to win Olympic Gold in 2000 and 2004 and Olympic Bronze in 2008.
In a survey commissioned by The Century Council, 9 out of 10 parents within the Latino community agree the Olympics are a great way to encourage youth to adopt healthy lifestyles. Additionally, 50% of Latino parents believe their kids will be approached about alcohol in the next three months compared to 41% of youth. These striking survey findings placed emphasis on bringing positive role models to reach kids on the importance of living a healthy lifestyle and saying no to underage drinking.
“I am extremely excited to be working with The Century Council and the Ask, Listen, Learn program. Kids need to be able to put their energy into positive and constructive activities, said Lopez. “If I hadn’t had a strong family, great role models in my siblings, and Taekwondo, I wouldn’t be as successful as I am. That is a big reason I am working with The Century Council—I want to impress upon as many kids as I can that you are only as great as the decisions you make. You just have to make good choices and saying no to underage drinking is a big part of that equation.”
Ralph Blackman President and CEO of The Century Council added, “Steven Lopez is an incredibly accomplished athlete and has had to deal with some of the same decisions and peer pressures that these kids are dealing with today. Had he not made the smart choices that he did make he wouldn’t be able to call himself a three time Olympic medalist today. According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, nearly 16% of 12 to 14 year olds report they have consumed alcohol in the past month. Our Ask, Listen, Learn program has the potential to further reduce these numbers, as half (49%) of 12-14 year olds believe alcohol education has made a difference in the decision they have made regarding alcohol. Our hope is that Steven will be able to drive home the need to make smart decisions to the kids here today.”
Developed over six years ago, Ask, Listen, Learn has already reached millions of parents, kids, and teachers around the country and is the most widely distributed program of its kind. Ask, Listen, Learn’s initiatives include:
Asklistenlearn.com encourages kids to “say ‘YES’ to a healthy lifestyle and ‘NO’ to underage drinking” by offering kids interactive and educational games and videos.
- So far over 700,000 kids have taken the pledge to become a member of the team and join the ranks at www.asklistenlearn.com.
- Ask, Listen, Learn leverages ambassadors such as Speedskater Apolo Anton Ohno, professional track stars Tyson Gay and Bryan Clay, and Olympic and Paralympic swimmers Rebecca Soni and Mallory Weggemann as “SuperStars.” Ask, Listen, Learn Team members will be encouraged to read Questions and Answers from SuperStars to learn how elite athletes dealt with peer pressure as they were growing up. SuperStars will encourage kids to make responsible decisions and live a healthy lifestyle.
- Ask, Listen, Learn has a supplemental in Scholastic that has reached more than 700,000 kids nationwide and can be found online.
“We are thrilled The Century Council was able to bring Steven Lopez and their Ask, Listen, Learn program to Arlington Science Focus Academy. Talking about the dangers of underage drinking with our youth is incredibly important and I have a feeling after today’s event our students will be asking to play the interactive activity a lot and will be watching for Steven Lopez in the Olympics. I believe the more enthusiasm we can build around this important issue – saying ‘no’ to underage drinking – the smarter choices our students will make,” said Principal Mary Begley.
About The Century Council
The Century Council, 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 Century Council 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 Century Council’s initiatives are highlighted on its website at www.centurycouncil.org and www.asklistenlearn.org.
About the research
The Century Council contracted Toluna to conduct an online survey of 10-18 year olds and parents of 10-18 year olds living in the same household. Using one of Toluna’s demographically diverse panels, the survey matched parents of 10-18 year olds and their age appropriate son or daughter at the same time. A nationally representative sample of 509 parents and 10-18 years was completed February 15-16, 2012 and an oversample of Hispanic parents and youth was completed February 17-20, 2012 for a total of 250 responses. Toluna is the world’s leading independent online panel and survey technology provider to the global market research industry. The margin of error among the national sample is + 4.3% and among the Hispanic sample the margin of error is + 6.2%.