Mothers Against Drunk Driving

Mothers Against Drunk Driving is a nonprofit based out of Irving, TX, that was formed in 1980 by Candice Lightner after her 13-year-old daughter was killed by a drunk driver. Its mission is “to aid the victims of crimes performed by individuals driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, to aid the families of such victims, and to increase public awareness of the problem of drinking and drugged driving.” The organization basically aims to stop drunk driving, support those who have been affected by drunk driving, prevent underage drinking, and advocate for a stricter alcohol policy. Throughout the years, the mission and focus of Mothers Against Drunk Driving has expanded; the organization itself has also grown tremendously. Today, there is a MADD Canada that was founded in 1990, an “Eight-Point Plan” that was introduced in 2002, and the Campaign to Eliminate Drunk Driving that was started in November 2006.

MADD Canada is the Canadian arm of Mothers Against Drunk Driving. Its purpose is to stop impaired driving and to support victims by holding public awareness and education programs, campaigns, and fundraisers that focus on stopping impaired driving.  The “Eight-Point Plan” is comprised of eight points: resuscitate the nation’s efforts to prevent impaired driving, increase driving while intoxicated (DWI)/driving under the influence (DUI) enforcement (especially the use of frequent, highly publicized sobriety checkpoints), enact primary enforcement seat belt laws in all states, create tougher and more comprehensive sanctions geared toward higher-risk drivers, develop a dedicated National Traffic Safety Fund, reduce underage drinking, increase beer excise taxes to the same level as those for spirits, and reinvigorate court monitoring programs. The Campaign to Eliminate Drunk Driving is a four-point plan that aims to completely eliminate drunk driving in the United States by using a combination of current technology, new technology in smart cars, law enforcement, and grass roots activism.

Drunk driving is something that is so deadly yet easily preventable. When I was home in CA this past weekend, there was a drunk driving accident on a street near my neighborhood. A parent was driving two 14-year-old girls and two 15-year-old girls home after a birthday party around 1:15 AM on Sunday morning, May 29th, when a Toyota pickup truck crashed into their Mercedes Benz. The accident left one of the 14-year-old girls dead and another one of the 15-year-old girls critically injured in the hospital; the drunk driver and his passenger walked away from the accident uninjured. The other two girls and the parent were also sent to the hospital but have since been released. So please, next time you are in a situation that involves drunk driving, think twice before you drive drunk or get into a car with a drunk driver. That decision could drastically change your life forever.

To learn more about Mothers Against Drunk Driving, visit them online or go to their Facebook page.

Jason Wade of the band Lifehouse wrote the song “From Where You Are” for Allstate’s Teen Driving Program. This song is dedicated to all those teens who have lost their lives in car accidents and to Jason’s friend who died in a car crash at age 16. It is also used to educate teens about safe driving.

From Where You Are by Lifehouse
So far away from where you are
These miles have torn us worlds apart
And I miss you, yeah I miss you

So far away from where you are
I’m standing underneath the stars
And I wish you were here

I miss the years that were erased
I miss the way the sunshine would light up your face
I miss all the little things
I never thought that they’d mean everything to me
Yeah I miss you
And I wish you were here

I feel the beating of your heart
I see the shadows of your face
Just know that wherever you are
Yeah I miss you
And I wish you were here

I miss the years that were erased
I miss the way the sunshine would light up your face
I miss all the little things
I never thought that they’d mean everything to me
Yeah I miss you
And I wish you were here

So far away from where you are
These miles have torn us worlds apart
And I miss you, yeah I miss you
And I wish you were here

To listen to more of Lifehouse’s music, visit their Facebook page.

Take the Natural High Pledge

On the morning of Tuesday, May 17th, 2011, more than 80% of Rancho Buena Vista High School’s 3,000 students stood up and took the pledge to live naturally high. Megan Hastings, Natural High’s summer intern, suggested the idea of a Natural High Pledge after being inspired by Seventeen‘s Body Peace Treaty Pledge. Michelle Ahearne, executive director of Natural High, and Allura Garis, youth marketing associate of Natural High, were fascinated by the idea and immediately put their plans into action. The pledge would give the youth a chance to take action and be directly involved in the cause. The first ever Natural High Pledge was held on that day, and Rancho Buena Vista High School became the first school to have the Natural High Club, founded by Mitch Medrano, with Jenna Glazier as the president. The high school even proclaimed May 17th to be “Natural High Day”.

The day started with the students alternating between watching the Natural High 4 DVD Series and attending an assembly. The Natural High 4 DVD Series features the band Relient K, professional skater Paul Rodriguez, Jr., NBA player Mike Conley, Jr., professional surfer and musician Timmy Curran, and many more. The DVD shows the youth how they can live up to their potentials and achieve their goals without the use of drugs and alcohol, and was distributed to every middle school in the United States in September 2009. The assembly began with speakers Chelsie Hill, a Pacific Grove High School student who got into the car with a drunk driver and is now paralyzed from the waist down, and Aaron Rubin, a 27-year-old who overdosed on oxycontin and can no longer walk nor talk (watch Hill’s interview about her accident here, and watch Rubin’s story here). At the end of the assembly, Natural High Club president Jenna Glazier asked the students of Rancho Buena Vista High School to stand up if they wanted to pledge to live naturally high, and more than 80% of the students did so. 20 students were filmed by Natural High’s filmmaker Josh Landan, pledging on camera to live naturally high. These students will potentially be featured in the next video, Natural High 5 DVD Series; this video will also feature the band Hey Monday and fashion designer and actress Lauren Conrad.

Take the pledge to live naturally high, to live a life without drugs and alcohol. “Together, we are not alone. Together, we are the uprising generation. Together, we can be the movement.”

Natural High is currently working on making the Natural High Pledge virtual so that those who want to sign it can do so online. The pledge will also be available at the following Vans Warped Tour dates: Pomona, CA (July 1st), Ventura, CA (July 3rd), San Diego, CA (August 9th), and Carson, CA (August 10th). To learn more about Natural High, visit their website online or go to their Facebook page.

Face Down by The Red Jumpsuit Apparatus

Face Down by The Red Jumpsuit Apparatus
Hey girl, you know you drive me crazy
One look puts the rhythm in my hand
Still I’ll never understand why you hang around
I see what’s going down

Cover up with makeup in the mirror
Tell yourself it’s never gonna happen again
You cry alone and then he swears he loves you

Do you feel like a man when you push her around?
Do you feel better now as she falls to the ground?
Well, I’ll tell you, my friend
One day this world’s going to end
As your lies crumble down
A new life she has found

A pebble in the water makes a ripple effect
Every action in this world will bear a consequence
If you wade around forever
You will surely drown
I see what’s going down

I see the way you go and say you’re right again,
Say you’re right again
Heed my lecture

Do you feel like a man when you push her around?
Do you feel better now as she falls to the ground?
Well, I’ll tell you, my friend
One day this world’s going to end
As your lies crumble down
A new life she has found

Face down in the dirt, she said,
“This doesn’t hurt”
She said, “I finally had enough”

Face down in the dirt, she said,
“This doesn’t hurt”
She said, “I finally had enough”

One day she will tell you that she has had enough
It’s coming round again

Do you feel like a man when you push her around?
Do you feel better now as she falls to the ground?
Well, I’ll tell you, my friend
One day this world’s going to end
As your lies crumble down
A new life she has found

Do you feel like a man when you push her around?
Do you feel better now as she falls to the ground?
Well, I’ll tell you, my friend
One day this world’s going to end
As your lies crumble down
A new life she has found

Face down in the dirt, she said,
“This doesn’t hurt”
She said, “I finally had enough”

Visit The Red Jumpsuit Apparatus’s Purevolume page to listen to more of their music or visit the Videos tab to watch the music video for “Face Down”.

If you or someone you know is suffering from domestic abuse, please call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE (7233) or visit their website.

Anberlin + Faceless International

Anberlin is a rock band that formed in 2002 in Winter Haven, FL. The band consists of lead singer Stephen Christian, guitarists Joseph Milligan and Christian McAlhaney, bassist Deon Rexroat, and drummer Nathan Young. The band signed to the record label Tooth & Nail Records within a year of forming and produced three albums over the span of five years. The third album, Cities, was released in 2007 and became Anberlin’s first album to reach the top 20 of the Billboard 200; that album sold almost 34,000 copies during its debut week. Later on in 2007, Anberlin signed with major label Universal Republic and produced two more records. Their first record on the major label, New Surrender, reached #13 on the Billboard 20, and their new single, “Feel Good Drag”, reached #1 on the Alternative Songs chart after being on the chart for 29 weeks. So far, the band has produced five studio albums, two compilation albums, one EP, and ten singles. In total, they have sold over 700,000 records. Anberlin will be touring in Germany, Austria, the Netherlands, France, and the United Kingdom this summer.

Anberlin has worked with many charities, nonprofits, and community-support organizations. In 2010, their tour included Land of a Thousand Hills Coffee; the tour helped raise money for impoverished communities. The band has also worked closely with the nonprofit To Write Love on Her Arms (read my post about it) and has even designed a shirt for the organization. In 2007, Anberlin invited the organization to tour with them on their Cities tour; the founder of To Write Love on Her Arms, Jamie Tworkowski, spoke before Anberlin’s set at every show about the organization and its mission. The band has participated in numerous benefit shows and has always been heavily involved with many nonprofits, particularly lead singer Stephen Christian. He was exposed to humanitarianism at a young age because his father worked with American Medical Relief, a nonprofit that supplied medical equipment to third world countries. Christian often traveled to Mexico with his father and saw the garbage dumps that people lived in and scoured for food. That experience ignited a spark inside of Christian and drove him to work with numerous nonprofits. His travels to Mexico inspired him to eventually start his own nonprofit called Faceless International.

Faceless International was co-founded by Stephen Christian, Seth Cain, and Sarah Freeman while they were on a humanitarian trip to Haiti. The organization aims to “defend the plight of exploited people worldwide who have gone faceless and unknown for far too long”. The purpose of Faceless International is to raise awareness about social issues that are occurring throughout the global community; it particularly focuses on human trafficking and human slavery. Faceless International also encourages others to get involved within their communities, states, and countries, and to use their talents to help those who are less fortunate and in need. The organization has also teamed up with various bands, such as National Product and the Classic Crime, and other nonprofits like To Write Love on Her Arms and the Emancipation Network to raise money for impoverished countries.

“Find a cause that you are passionate about. Start to make a difference. Your life will be changed. Then you will become the change.” —Faceless International

Watch this video by the A21 Campaign to learn more about human trafficking.

To learn more about Faceless International, visit them online or go to their Facebook page.

Skate4Cancer

Skate4Cancer was founded in 2003 when Rob Dyer was only 18 years old after he lost his mother, both his grandmothers, and his best friend to cancer, all within one year. Driven by the pain and devastation he felt, Rob decided to channel all of his negative emotions into something that he loved to do: skateboarding. In 2004, he planned a skate marathon that started in Los Angeles, California, and ended in his hometown of Newmarket, Canada. Despite ankle fractures, numerous nights spent sleeping outside on the streets, getting bumped and hit by passing cars, sponsors withdrawing from the skate tour, and other hardships, Rob was able to complete his journey in five months. He wanted to prove to the world that anything is possible, as long as there is the determination to accomplish it. He wanted to show others that despite all the trials in life, something good could still come out of them. He wanted to raise awareness about cancer and encourage people to join him in the fight against it. And he wanted to honor all those who have fought the battle against cancer.

Since the first skate to Canada in 2004, Rob has skated across the United States, Canada, New Zealand, and Australia, and will be skating across France in 2011. So far, he has skated approximately 12,023 miles! Through skateboarding marathons, S4C hopes to raise money and awareness for cancer. Skate4Cancer’s mission is to hype up youth on the importance of cancer prevention and community building. Although the organization has grown and expanded over the years, that will always be its main focus. Rob and his team strive to create a community that encourages discussion and support for cancer. By working together in this community, Skate4Cancer hopes to drastically reduce the presence of cancer in our society. To create this community, the organization strongly encourages volunteer involvement and even welcomes people to skate with Rob when he passes through their cities (except for on the highways due to safety issues). Besides the skate marathons, Skate4Cancer also throws free events like skateboarding competitions and concerts to bring people together and build up the community. Any donations that are made are immediately given to hospitals and other organizations that Skate4Cancer supports. As these events grew more and more popular and the organization saw how many kids were eager to join the fight against cancer, Rob and his team decided that just raising awareness was not enough. So they decided to start educating the youth on how they could prevent cancer themselves. And that is how the Cure is Knowledge program was born.

The Cure is Knowledge is a branch of Skate4Cancer that strives to encourage healthy living and an active lifestyle in order to prevent cancer. After learning that 80% of all cancers are preventable, Rob was determined to make others realize the importance of understanding that knowledge is currently the only cure for cancer. To educate the youth on cancer prevention, Skate4Cancer has used social media and informative videos, encouraged self-examinations, and started campaigns like Hair4Cancer and Light Up a Smile, Not a Cigarette. To promote these ideas and educate the youth, Rob joined musicians and bands on tour and set up a booth at each show to pass out flyers, talk to kids about cancer and how to prevent it, and encourage healthy discussions about personal experiences with cancer. This tour has now become an annual event to educate people about cancer prevention, and it continues to flourish. Still, Rob saw that cancer is a continuing problem so he decided that something else needed to be done in the fight against cancer. And that is how the idea for the Dream.Love.Cure Centre was created.

The Dream.Love.Cure Centre will serve as a physical place for those who are struggling with cancer, both directly and indirectly, to gather as a community. It will offer support, love, education, and encouragement, and give them a place to share their emotions and stories. Rob knows all about needing support and encouragement when dealing with issues like cancer. After losing so many of his loved ones to cancer, he fought depression, but with the help of his friends, he was able to stay positive and keep moving forward in life. In an interview, Rob stated that “when you lose someone to cancer, I find that there’s not really many places for you to turn because it’s a life-changing experience. And if you don’t have a place that’s non-judgmental, it can be really hard on kids.” That is why Rob and the rest of the team has started to build the centre: to create a safe environment for those of the cancer community. There will be special events, staff to answer questions and provide information, S4C merchandise on sale, a gallery to feature the campaigns, and so much more. There are currently many ideas in the workings for the Dream.Love.Cure Centre, but for now, it is primarily focused on providing a safe haven for those who have been stricken with the devastation of cancer.

Watch Rob’s amazing journey with Skate4Cancer and learn about his future plans for the Dream.Love.Cure Centre in this incredible short documentary.

To learn more about Skate4Cancer, visit them online, or go to the American Cancer Society’s website to learn more about cancer. Click here to buy S4C merch.

Hold on by Good Charlotte

Hold On by Good Charlotte
This world
This world is cold
But you don’t
You don’t have to go
You’re feeling sad, you’re feeling lonely
And no one seems to care
Your mother’s gone and your father hits you
This pain you cannot bear

But we all bleed the same way as you do
And we all have the same things to go through

Hold on if you feel like letting go
Hold on it gets better than you know

Your days
You say they’re way too long
And your nights
You can’t sleep at all
Hold on
And you’re not sure what you’re waiting for
But you don’t want to know more
And you’re not sure what you’re looking for
But you don’t want to know more

But we all bleed the same way as you do
And we all have the same things to go through

Hold on if you feel like letting go
Hold on it gets better than you know
Don’t stop looking, you’re one step closer
Don’t stop searching, it’s not over
Hold on

What are you looking for?
What are you waiting for?
Do you know what you’re doing to me?
Go ahead…what are you waiting for?

Hold on if you feel like letting go
Hold on it gets better than you know
Don’t stop looking, you’re one step closer
Don’t stop searching, it’s not over

Hold on if you feel like letting go
Hold on it gets better than you know
Hold on

To listen to more of Good Charlotte’s music, visit their Facebook or check out their Purevolume page. Visit the Videos tab to watch the music video for “Hold On”. 

If you or someone you know is depressed and/or is thinking about suicide, please call Hopeline at 1-800-SUICIDE (784-2433) immediately.

Coldplay + MTF

Coldplay is an English alternative rock band that formed in 1998 after lead singer Chris Martin and lead guitarist Jonny Buckland met at University College London. Guy Berryman then joined as the bassist, and drummer Will Champion followed shortly after. The band has released four full-length studio albums and are currently working on their fifth one. They discography of Coldplay also includes five extended plays, twenty three singles, two live albums, and one compilation album. Coldplay has won several music awards, including six Brit Awards, four MTV Video Music Awards (VMAs), and seven Grammy Awards. They are considered to be one of the world’s best-selling music artists and have sold over fifty million records throughout the world. The band is also active in various social and political causes, and have participated in numerous charity projects.

The band is well-known for donating 15% of its money to charity. Throughout the years, they have participated in events like Hope for Haiti Now: A Global Benefit for Earthquake Relief and Teenage Cancer Trust. Coldplay also participates in the Meat Free Monday campaign, an attempt to help slow climate change, support animal rights, and lead healthier lives by having at least one meat-free day a week; lead singer Martin is also a vegan. In 2009, Coldplay auctioned off numerous significant band collectibles, including their first guitars, and gave all proceeds to Kids Company, a charity that helps disadvantaged young children and adolescents in London. The band is particularly outspoken on the issue of fair trade, especially lead singer Martin, and actively supports Amnesty International and Oxam’s Make Trade Fair (MTF) campaign.

Oxfam is an international confederation that consists of fourteen organizations that work in ninety-eight countries worldwide to find solutions to poverty and injustice. It works directly with people in those communities and tries to influence those that hold power to ensure that the poor people can improve their own lives and have a say in the decisions that affect them. The Make Trade Fair campaign is one of Oxfam’s well-known campaigns, and its purpose is to promote trade justice and fair trade among governments, institutions, and multinational corporations. The campaign focuses on eliminating the following trade practices: dumping, tariffs, unbalanced labor rights for women, and patent issues. Lead singer Chris Martin is an avid supporter of the Make Trade Fair Campaign. He has traveled to Ghana and Haiti to meet farmers and see the effects of unfair trade practices and even has the initials “M.T.F.” printed on his piano. He also draws an equal sign on his left hand before every concert and major event to symbolize his support for fair trade.

From helping cancer patients, to supporting animal rights, to advocating for fair trade, to donating to underprivileged kids, it’s not hard to see that Coldplay has made a significant impact on the world today in many different areas. We may not all have the money that Coldplay has, but we can still do something and we can still make an impact. To get involved in the Make Trade Fair campaign, click here to see what you can do to make the world a better place.