Contest promoted locally through Safe Schools/Healthy Students and Drug Free Alton Coalition

Local Alton High School teens are first place winners in a music composition contest, with a music video that focuses on personal experience living around drugs.  The contest was promoted locally through the joint efforts of the Safe Schools/Healthy Students Initiative (SS/HS) and the Drug Free Alton Coalition.  Daevion Caves and Jordan Atkins were the winners of the Musicares® and GRAMMY Foundation’s Teen Substance Abuse Awareness through Music Contest.  The contest celebrates National Drug Facts Week, a seven-day observance launched last week by the Nationl Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA). 

Caves, an 18-year-old junior, and Atkins, a 16-year-old sophomore, are students at Alton High School.  Their entry, a music video entitled “Drug Free State of Mind,” (click here to view: ), shows the  boys living daily around drug use, but having the courage to stay drug-free.  This entry was made in collaboration with classmate Ben Bregenzer, a computer technology enthusiast.  Caves and Atkins are part of a positive rap group called the “618 Boyz”, a group sponsored by Alton High school social worker Linda Wittman.

The contest was open to teens ages 14-18.  Entrants were asked to compose or create an original song and/or music video that explores, encourages and celebrates a healthy lifestyle or accurately depicts a story about drug abuse.  The winners will attend a rehearsal of the 53rd Annual GRAMMY Awards and take part in a “Backstage Experience” on Feb. 13, 2011 in Los Angeles.  The duo were also awarded $500.  Their video is featured on the NIDA, ThinkMTV and Grammy365 websites.

Atkins said “I wanted to do this for my Grandpa.  Alcohol use has affected my family and I see how it causes struggles in my community.  I am trying to influence people to stay away from drugs and violence”.  Caves added “ I feel like I better myself when I lend a hand to others.  We hope it will let people know how tough it is growing up in the streets, but give them hope of a better tomorrow if they rise above their situation”.

About Alton’s Safe Schools/Healthy Students Inititative

The Federal Safe Schools/Healthy Students Inititative (SS/HS) has funded more than 350 urban, suburban, rural and tribal areas nationwide since 1999.  This grant is the result of a unique collaboration among the U.S. Departments of Education, Health and Human Services, and Justice, and was created in response to rising concerns about youth violence and school safety.  Locally, SS/HS helps reduce the risk factors that come between children of all ages and their ability to learn – and helps them to stay safe and healthy.  Together with Drug Free Alton, SS/HS works on the goals to lower the use of alcohol, tobacco and other drugs among youth.


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