- Governor’s Prevention Partnership Announces Jozzlynn Lewis Chosen as 1 of 15 Nationwide -
(HARTFORD, CT) – June 10, 2016 – While many Connecticut students will be honored with end-of -year school awards, Putnam High School Junior Jozzlynn Lewis has earned a coveted spot on a national teen board. Each year, Students Against Destructive Decisions or SADD, provides an opportunity for select students to join an exciting advocacy-training program called SADD SPEAKs. SADD state coordinator for Connecticut, the Governor’s Prevention Partnership, recently announced Lewis’ appointment at the Governor’s Residence Reception on Tuesday, June 7th in Hartford.
“Jozzlynn was one of only 15 young people from across the country who was chosen. It is quite an honor!” said Jill Spineti, President & CEO, The Governor’s Prevention Partnership (The Partnership). “This is also significant for The Partnership because this is the first time in ten years that we have had a youth from Connecticut involved in a national SADD initiative.”
Lewis addressed the invited CEOs, Commissioners, and other high level officials at Tuesday’s event hosted by Governor Malloy and the Partnership’s Board of Directors. The Partnership also shared its new strategic plan to the attendees, who generously support the non-profit organization. The plan is focused on The Partnership’s mission to equip and connect community groups, business leaders and families to prevent substance abuse, underage drinking and violence among youth.
“While underage drinking has dropped 8.9 percent, that's not good enough,” states Spineti. “More than 50 percent of Connecticut's youth continue to deal with issues of drug use, family alcoholism, bullying and child abuse. We partner with SADD and exemplary students such as Jozzlynn to help children avoid all substances to ensure a healthier future.”
Lewis, 17, underwent a competitive selection process which focused on her experience, leadership qualities, public speaking ability, and other criteria. She was recognized as a dynamic student leader who has also been involved in her local substance abuse prevention coalition, Putnam PRIDE, for many years, along with her mother, Cheryl Lewis. Her interest in SADD stems from seeing alcohol and substance use in her own school.
“Sometimes kids come to class under the influence,” explains Lewis. “This has a negative influence on all of the students, not just the ones who use. I became involved in SADD in order to make a difference and do my part to make things better.”
Lewis’ commitment and dedication certainly impressed the judging panel. “Jozzlynn is deserving of this high honor. Her deep desire to empower her peers and change her community will serve her well, as she works to implement policy change at the local, state, and national level,” said Dawn Teixeira, SADD president and chief executive officer. “Motivated young people are a true catalyst for social change.”
“I am so very proud of Jozzlynn and her dedication to SADD, as well as her commitment to wanting to make Putnam High School and our community a safer place to learn and live,” adds Lisa Mooney, School Social Worker and SADD Advisor at Putnam High School.
SADD SPEAKs (Students for Policy, Education, Advocacy, & Knowledge) is an initiative of SADD National, funded by State Farm that focuses on addressing an impaired driving issue. The participants will have a positive and lasting effect on public policy, demonstrating the power of America’s young people to speak persuasively on critically important issues. They will be trained in coalition building, public speaking and advocacy skills.