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Mayor Bruce Botelho led last week's Assembly meeting wearing a tie with large, colorful felt letters glued to it. Assembly member Jeff Bush wore a tie that featured colorful pom-poms and glitter. Assembly member Merrill Sanford's tie dangled beads and a small plastic car.
MADD's Youth In Action created and presented these unique and goofy ties to each of the Assembly members to bring attention to MADD's annual "Tie One On For Safety" campaign. During the holiday months of November and December, MADD asks people to tie a red ribbon on their vehicle to represent their commitment not to drink and drive and not to provide alcohol to people under 21.
Nine members of Youth In Action, a group for teens interested in preventing underage drinking and drunk driving, attended the meeting and presented the ties. Sophomore Sam Reigard remarked, "It was awesome. They were welcoming. A lot of adults think that teens can't make a difference, but the Assembly seemed to really listen."
Freshmen Paige Pahlke and Amanda Soto explained the purpose of the ties and the "Tie One On For Safety" campaign at the beginning of the Assembly meeting. Afterwards, Pahlke said, "I was nervous because I believe very strongly in what I had to say and I didn't want to mess it up. I was surprised that all nine Assembly members put on the ties we had made them."
MADD National started the "Tie One On For Safety" campaign in 1986 to fight back against what is typically a dangerous time of year. 1,579 people across the United States were killed in alcohol-related crashes between Thanksgiving and New Year's Eve in 2002.
MADD says in order to be safe and responsible, people should always designate a non-drinking driver if the outing involves alcohol. MADD also encourages people to be responsible hosts by offering guests non-alcoholic beverages and providing alternate transportation or accommodations.
The ribbons are available free at many participating businesses around town including coffee shops, grocery stores, health clubs, doctors' offices and banks.