ANDERSON — The Madison County Students Against Destructive Decisions (SADD) chapter recently received national recognition as one of the top three chapters in the country.
There are more than 10,000 SADD chapters throughout the United States, including middle schools, high schools and colleges, officials said. The Madison County chapter has about 1,000 members.
The local chapter won the national award based on an application that explained the chapter's activity in the community.
Missy Morris, Madison County youth coordinator, said, "Our application stood out due to diverse and creative peer-to-peer educational activities that the students did within their respective schools.
"The large number of students we have in the program and the strong community partnerships helped to win the award."
Ten student representatives and two adults from the local SADD chapter recently returned from a conference in Washington, D.C., where they had received the award.
While in Washington, students listened to speakers, shared experiences with others and participated in a press event on Capitol Hill. They also spoke with legislators, representatives and other officials about SADD's plans, while raising awareness and lobbying for teen-driving safety programs.
SADD members said they have been involved in spreading awareness to schools and communities, sponsoring programs designed to raise awareness and showing people the consequences of making irresponsible decisions.
Derek Sims, Madison County SADD board member and junior at Elwood Community High School, said the group is involved in various activities in the community, including working with state legislators and members of Congress.
"We have spoken with legislators and advocated the importance of teen driving safety," Sims said.
SADD focuses on the dangers and risks of underage drinking, tobacco use, teen driving safety and substance abuse.
Courtney Hinton, a SADD county board member and Frankton High School student, said she joined SADD to help make a difference in students' lives.