Sponsored and supported by DCH Tustin Acura, sends 10 students to attended the  SADD National Conference.

H
ear what they had to say about it in their own words!

  

Below you will find Quotes and below that the
Letters of individual experiences and thank you's from local students who attended the 2013 SADD (Students Against Destructive Decisions) National Conference.


Front Left to Right: Rochelle Shirkanbaigi of DCH Tustin Acura and Melissa C. 
Students Left to Right: Michelle G., Kristen F., Milonee D., Brandon F., Jonathan C., Kiyoung H., Jonathan M., Lauren B., Olivia L., Karina B.
(Last names removed for student privacy)


Student Quotes:

  • "The national display of SADD passionate and supportive environment is the best part of going to a SADD Conference. Hearing from the other students across the nation on how they get the message across, fundraising, and make SADD an exciting club were something all of us that attended could bring back home. ...I hope that future members know that SADD is much larger than something you can put on your college resume, it is definitely a lifestyle choice that should not be limited to just teens but all other demographics." -Olivia L.


  • "I like many other students want to be able to make a positive difference in our peers... SADD stands for Students Against Destructive Decisions. This can be a ton of different things that can negatively change our lives. SADD National Conference, was truly a growing experience for me. What I learned about myself as an individual was truly more than I could learn in a classroom environment. I think all students should be exposed to something like the SADD National Conference. They will grow more in a week than they will in one school year." -Jonathan C.


  • "SADD conference I will never forget it. I will treasure the experience long into the future. SADD is just so much more than just distracted driving, it is also about drugs, bulling, teen suicide, and so much more. Overall it was amazing, I found out a lot about myself. SADD is just a wonderful thing to support and I hope others will do the same." - Kiyoung H.


  • "When you hear "conference", you don't think 400+ amazing student leaders from all over the nation. You don't think life changing speakers and workshops. You don't think fun or acceptance or family. But that's exactly what SADD National Conference was ...a place where I can belong and be myself. If I could, I would go back and relive every single moment again. The lessons I learned and the memories I made are things I will carry with me for the rest of my life." -Milonee D.


  • "The SADD National Conference not only allowed me to make new friends, but it completely changed my life. The guest speakers were phenomenal. The courage to speak about their personal experiences and testimonies was brave, as they touched the hearts of so many people. It influenced me and hundreds of others to really make that right choice in our lives and in sharing to the lives of others. ...the conference wouldn't have been complete without the people that attended. From all over the country, all around my age, striving for the same goal I was. Keeping in touch with them still, I have made friendships that I would have never made otherwise, and that is something truly remarkable. " -Kristen F.

 

  • "During conference, listening to occurrences and leading causes in accidents, where one thinks of their actions after lives have been dealt. the same statements running over and over again. 'If only I knew where my actions led me to before it happened.' ...After conference, new ideas are running through my mind which can not only use to help expand the club but to help our chapter have a deeper understanding of our clubs visual and vocal forms that reach through to the people, the same way it reached out to me." -Jonathan M.

 

  • "I would definitely encourage future SADD members to attend this conference, it was an influential and amazing experience. From the various workshops to the amazing speakers that presented before us, I was completely blown away.  The speakers spoke of past experiences of members of their families being involved with drugs, alcohol, even bullying, problems that teens deal with in their everyday lives. The various workshops were all very interesting and added a different twist to what I previously believed. ...now I have many more ideas to bring back to the club for a much more successful school year. I can't wait to see what this year has in store!" -Brandon F.


  • I am so fortunate for the experiences I've been blessed with. I've matured, and grown up with SADD and the members of SADD. Joining SADD would not be the same experience without DCH Auto Group or DCH Tustin Acura supporting us. Tey have supported my school and my chapter from when I first came as a freshman and now when I will be leaving as a senior. Wow, senior year. I joined the California SADD SLC (Student Leadership Counsel) to represent some of the issues I knew some chapters were facing in my area, and to connect with the other great chapters of California. I plan on teaming up with other chapters some around my area, some farther to help unify California SADD chapters. - Michelle G.



LETTERS FROM STUDENTS



 
"My Other Family"
by Olivia L. of Tustin High School SADD Club
July 2013


I have been in SADD Club since Freshman year and have loved it and have often called it my "other family." Being that this is my second time going to a SADD Conference, I just want to thank DCH Auto Group and our always supportive sponsor DCH Tustin Acura for giving me the opportunity to go again, and for sending the other outstanding students to the 2013 SADD Conference in Orlando, Florida.

When I first joined SADD it was because it was the first club, and perhaps only club, I saw at Freshman Orientation to greet students and encouraging them to join. From the get-go, SADD portrayed the nonjudgmental and family-like qualities that one would only hope to receive in high scho
ol. For myself, being new to the Tustin District, I understood that transitioning to a new environment would be difficult, but I noticed the friendly and positive attitudes given to me would be something I would like to be a part of and continue to be a part of. Over the first months in the club, I realized that while I was going to the meetings I had found that SADD has such a greater influence on our school if people just gave it a chance. I am convicted as I found that there would be people I knew around me slowly and perhaps unknowingly physically and mentally damaging themselves, and that would make me want to stay in the club and proudly represent the organization. When I first went to a SADD national conference in 2012, I was--I apologize for the cliché--had an "eye-opening" experience that would drive me to try to be a better example despite my own flaws. So this year despite all of the pressures in school in both the academic and social settings, I knew that the 2013 SADD Conference would so far be the highlight of my year. I was right.

Something that I realized at the conference was for Tustin High School's SADD we should not limit ourselves in our advocacy to just one issue. The national display of SADD passionate and supportive environment is the best part of going to a SADD Conference. Hearing from the other students across the nation on how they get the message across, fundraising, and m
ake SADD an exciting club were something all of us that attended could bring back home. I think the speaker's that were there had influenced me the most. There's not much anyone can say, but they definitely are thought provoking.

I hope that future SADD Club members know that SADD is much larger than something you can put on your college resume, it is definitely a lifestyle choice that should not be limited to just teens but all other demographics.

Once more I would like to say that I am beyond grateful for what DCH the staff of DCH Tustin Acura has provi
ded us with, and I hope that with our new tools and information we can further share the SADD mission with our school.

I hope that with the unwavering support of DCH Tustin Acura and our school administration, that this upcoming year is one of the best for all of the SADD Clubs at Tustin High, as well as for the clubs of Beckman and Foothill. I know I'm going to work hard to see the club continue to succeed.

Thank you so much!

Olivia



"Don't Lose sight of what's important."
By Jonathan C. of Foothill High School
July 2013

My name is Jonathan Camarena, I am a 2014 Senior at Foothill High School. I have been a part of the SADD program sponsored by DCH Tustin Acura for one year. Some people may think SADD only pertains to students who drink and drive, or even text and drive. I know that's what I thought, until I attended the 2013 SADD National Conference.

I like many other students want to be able to make a positive difference in our peers. Although we may have many great ideas it is very hard to truly help and make a noticeable difference. I feel that we students need to remember that SADD stands for Students Against Destructive Decisions. This can be a ton of different things that can negatively change our lives, we cannot lose sight of that.

I am truly grateful that DCH Tustin Acura raised the money for us students to be able to attend the SADD National Conference, it was truly a growing experience for me. What I learned about myself as an individual was truly more than I could learn in a classroom environment. I think all students should be exposed to something like the SADD National Conference. The
y will grow more in a week than they will in one school year.

As for future students interested in joining a SADD chapter, don't make the mistake of judging the kids that may not be like you. You need to have a very open mind to be a successful part of SADD. A great example I actually heard from another student at the Conference was stereotyping students who like Dubstep music, that they all smoke pot, it's not true people like different things. Remember, don't be ignorant!

On a personal note, I wish I was exposed to a program like SADD when I was younger. I have had close friends and family members who truly destroyed their life and their families lives. It hurts knowing I may have made a difference in their life, I just didn't know how.

This goes well beyond just a school club, and I am forever grateful.
I would like to thank everyone at DCH that works to make this trip possible.

Sincerely,
Jonathan C.



 
"One of the best experiences I have ever had in my life time!"
By Kiyoung H. of Beckman High School

July 2013

I decided to join SADD after Michelle, our president showed me what they do and I became very interested in what they advocate, but the SADD conference I will never forget it. I will treasure the experience long into the future, there is just too much to talk about; I learned so much that it is just  impossible to explain. Well to shorten it, the conference is one of the best things you'll go to, you meet a bunch of people who have the same ideals as you and learn a lot of things that you have never realized. For example, apparently in some states trains are a huge problem for teens, and in other places you have to be a redneck to fit in, so that was very odd for me. The speakers were very amazing in their different styles of speaking, I almost cried but I didn't, it was very emotional and I loved all of it.

The workshops, they prepare for it and we get to learn so much about a specific idea or topic that we neve
r knew about. SADD is just so much more than just distracted driving, it is also about drugs, bulling, teen suicide, and so much more. One of the workshops just blew my mind, it was about this guy that made one bad decision that cost a couples lives, he spent around 3100 days in jail.

Overall it was amazing, I found out a lot about myself, I got a nickname on the trip.... and that everyone loves me. Students, if you have the opportunity to go you should definitely go. SADD is just a wonderful thing to support and I hope others will do the same.

I am very grateful to DCH Tustin Acura for sponsoring me and without them I would've never gotten the opportunity of a lifetime. I want to say it again, thank you so much for everything that you have done for our chapter, it will never be forgotten.

Truly Appreciative,
Kiyoung



"We are student leaders. We are advocates. We are family."
By Milonee D. of Beckman High School

July 2013

People don't always understand why SADD means so much to me. It's not always about the message we advocate, but it's also about the acceptance and understanding we receive from other people from all over the country who share the same principles as I do. The people of SADD Nation aren't just teenagers from all over the country. We are student leaders. We are advocates. We are family.  SADD gave me purpose and it gave me a niche in the world. It gave me a place where I felt at home and where I belonged.


Words cannot even explain the gratitude I have for DCH Auto Group and DCH Tustin Acura, who gave me the opportunity to go to Florida thi
s year and to Torrance last year.  The undeniable support my SADD chapter has received is something I would never expect from anyone. DCH Tustin Acura and their staff have bent over backwards to make sure we have everything we need to be successful, and they don't always receive the credit they deserve. So thank you, from the bottom of my heart for all you have done for me and for all the people you have touched through SADD.

I joined SADD my freshman year of high school. Quite honestly, I had only joined SADD because all of my friends had joined it, and because it was a popular club on campus. I had no idea what I was doing there. I went to all of the meetings and all of the events, but it wasn't until towards the end of my sophomore year of high school did I really get what SADD was about. The president of the time, Madelaine, convinced me to apply to go to conference and told me I wouldn't regret it.  So I went. I didn't really know what I was doing there, or what really to expect. But at the end of the conference, I went back home a completely different person -as cliché as that may sound.


Living behind the "Orange Curtain", for a good part of my adolescence, I was sheltered from a lot of the "bad" that occurs in the world. I have been lucky enough to be blessed with a great life. I live in a very good area, I attend a pretty great school, I have an amazing family and support system, and most importantly I am healthy and happy.


This year's conference was a little bit different for me, I could actually relate firsthand to some of the things that we talked about at conference. The biggest impact I probably felt in the four days, was probably on the last day when Scott Backovich spoke to us during the closing ceremony.
He reminded us that we have the influence to create positive things to those around us. That we can be the person who not only stands up for the right thing, but also stands against the wrong. That we shouldn't just feel sorry for the wrong that happens around us, but instead take action. Don't wait around for it to happen on its own.

As the co-president of my high school's SADD chapter I had more of a driver's seat view of what was going on in my high school, my community, and even my family this past year. I am proud to say that my high school doesn't have a lot of problems, but thanks to the conference, I learned that there are
quite a lot of things we, as a chapter, can do to make a change in our community.

To future SADDvocates:  SADD might not be as cool as the hip hop club at your school, but joining SADD was definitely the best decision I made in my high school career so far. I can't even put into words how much SADD has had an impact on my life. The difference you make in your community and in the lives of other people is probably the most rewarding thing.  And if that's not enough, I can't even begin to tell how many great p
eople you meet and the friends you make through SADD. Some of my best friends live across the country. I have made so many friends from all over the country that I talk to almost every day. I wish for everyone to have the chance to experience what I experienced with SADD these last three years.

 When you hear "conference", you don't think 400+ amazing student leaders from all over the nation. You don't think life changing speakers and workshops. You don't think fun or acceptance or family. But that's exactly what SADD National Conference was. I am forever in debt to my SADD Nation family, for saving me and giving me a place where I can belong and be myself. If I could, I would go back and relive every single moment again. The lessons I learned, and the memories I made are things I will carry with me for the rest of my life.

In life, you will have a few moments that will change your life forever. For me ? it was the SADD National Conference. SADD changed me for the better. I cannot imagine my life without it. Thank you for all of the tears and laughter we shared together, and thank you DCH for the opportunity.

Forever grateful,
Milonee




"To say that this conference was awesome would be an understatement."
By Kristen F. of Beckman High School
July 2013


The SADD National Conference not only allowed me to make new friends, but it completely changed my life. I am so grateful to the people that made my journey at this conference possible.

Starting out freshman year, SADD was one of the million clubs at Club Rush that approached me, asking me to sign up. I figured, why not? I could spare a lunch and go to one of these meetings. Little did I know that this one lunch would change my entire high school experience.

The first two summers of my high school career I couldn't attend the National Conference, I am so privileged to have been able to go this year. Thanks to DCH Tustin Acura and DCH Auto Group, ten students from our Tustin School District were able to attend SADD's conference, these peers were some of the most amazing people I have ever met. Even though we all attend separate high schools, we created friendships that will continue on, and that is not just something that you find everyday. From early morning breakfast to lights out, I was honored to be in the company of such outstanding individuals. They were the same as me, wanting to influence and aid their communities; however, at the same time, we were all diverse and unique in our own ways. Bringing our own ideas, thoughts, and stories into the discussions. On reflection, I definitely would not have wanted to experience this with anyone else.

Although the people were amazing, there were many other aspects that also contributed to the life-changing experience. For one, the guest speakers were phenomenal. The courage to speak about their personal experiences and testimonies was brave, as they touched the hearts of so many people. The time they took to speak to us was worthwhile, as it influenced me and hundreds of others to really make that right choice in our lives and in sharing to the lives of others.

The workshops was also a huge part of the National Conference. Attending these useful and informational workshops helped me to learn tips and gain knowledge, respectively. From human trafficking to law consequence, these workshops were taught by the best, sharing with me and my peers information to take back home and share.

Lastly, the conference wouldn't have been complete without the people that attended. From all over the country, I received the opportunity to meet with people from North Dakota, New Jersey, Delaware, etc. The best part was they were all around my age, striving for the same goal I was. Keeping in touch with them still, I have made friendships that I would have never made otherwise, and that is something truly remarkable.

Catching a glimpse of my experience at the SADD National Conference, I have truly been blessed with the opportunity of a lifetime. Two years ago I would have never imagined going through something like this. Because of DCH Auto Group, DCH Tustin Acura and our school administration, I got to have the adventure of a lifetime. With that, I could not be more grateful.

Overall from this experience, I have learned so much. SADD is not just drinking and driving or texting and driving, nor is it something to just put on your college resume. Rather it is a lifestyle choice and the thrill of a lifetime.

Truly grateful,
Kristen



"New ideas are running through my mind..."
By Jonathan M. of Tustin High School
July 2013


It was in early September where I had been walking down with a couple friends of mine to mingle with the rest of the students who have been in search for a club to join. As a freshman, being involved and being out there was the main attraction for joining clubs; which usually led to an enormous amount of students to recruit for clubs they were interested in. It`s been Two Years since I`ve joined SADD Club at our school and I always reply with the same answer to that question every year. "How did you become a SADD Member?" My answer would always be: My Science teacher walked up to me and talked to me about how this club supported a greater cause and how through advocacy, we can spread our words for a center of awareness. He also told me some of the things the club discussed including: Car accidents, Drug use, Self harm, suicide, and Bullying.

From there I opened up and I decided to attend one of the meetings. When I walked in, I was welcomed by the heartwarming members in the club and we had a mini icebreaker commonly known as "That's me!" Soon enough, I began to grow a bond with the members and everyone in the club was a huge family. From there, I committed to the Club and I had become a board member.
   
"SADD Club? You mean that club that involves car crashes?" That statement was a road seen by many; but very few had looked closer to understand that it was not a road, for it was a long rigorous path of life. People often search for the fast Lane in life, where you zip through everything and Live life to its fullest and not worry over anything. Until that blur in your mind clears away and you realize where your life is heading. A path you have taken has cut of the rest of the drivers in this freeway of chance, leading to their passing. Perhaps it was not a great idea pick up that bottle at the party, maybe if I got help; none of this would had happened. 

During conference, occurrences and leading causes in accidents lead to the point where one thinks of their actions after lives have been dealt. These lead to the same statements running over and over again. If only, I had been reminded. If only I knew where my actions led me to before it happened.

After conference, new ideas are running through my mind which can not only use to help expand the club but to help our chapter have a deeper understanding of our clubs visual and vocal forms that reach through to the people, the same way it reached out to me. "Stand Out, Speak Up, and Seize Control Against Big Tobacco" says Elizabeth Orlan as she gives us a brief explanation of a campaign for Tobacco-Free kids leading to "Kick Butts Day". A day to raise awareness on tobacco`s harmful consequences, which led to the idea for a sequence of events for everyday in red ribbon week. These include: Statistics on walls, football field burial, and wear a gas mask day (second hand smoke awareness).

Future members planning to attend to the next Conference, don`t forget to bring tissues with you! Not only do the speakers have powerful voices, but powerful Words that will reach out into you. Also, never forget to start the day with a smile! A random act of kindness can definitely affect someone's day and make it better, so don`t be afraid to talk with the people there and show kindness. Something I did was to walk by people and say
"Goooooooodmorning!" and give them a high five or "Stay awesome!" as I walked by them. Be Social! Open up! And Meet new people!


 But most Important of all remember those whom had brought you to the place you are now, and thank them. They have done a lot to help bring you to conference and to help support you as well.  I`m grateful for all DCH Tustin Acura has done and for sponsoring us.

I would also like to give a special thanks to Mr. Lam of DCH, and everyone in DCH Tustin Acura for their continued support. If it were not for all your help, we wouldn't have gone as far as we are now.

Thank You,
Jonathan M.



"An absolutely intriguing and wonderful experience"

Brandon F. of Beckman High School
July 2013


I decided to join the Students Against Destructive Decisions Club (SADD) as a Freshman because of what the club advocates but didn't become seriously involved until this year.  At first, I thought the club stood for Students Against Drunk Driving or something like that, but I came to realize that the club advocates much more than that during our club meetings and especially throughout the conference.

The conference was an absolutely intriguing and wonderful experience.  From the various workshops to the amazing speakers that presented before us, I was completely blown away.  The speakers spoke of past experiences of members of their families being involved with drugs, alcohol, even bullying.  SADD covers most of the problems that teens deal with in their everyday lives: parties with alcohol, bullying, depression, etc.

The various workshops were all very interesting and added a different twist to what I previously believed. One of my favorite parts of the conference was listening to the different perspectives that other students shared in different states.  In Tustin, we live in a society completely different from practically everyone at conference that I spoke with.  Personally, I attended a workshop talking about train safety where I learned that more than a thousand people die a year from walking on train tracks and how dangerous it is to walk on the tracks.  In Tustin, we don't really have this problem, but it was very interesting listening to the students from North and South Dakota who were in the session with me and do experience train encounters, as they need to cross train tracks every day to get to school.  I also attended a session about drunk driving, financial issues, being above the influence, and anti-bullying.  
Being at conference, now I have many more ideas to bring back to the club for a much more successful school year.  Previously, our club has put a much higher emphasis on drunk driving and being above the influence, but this upcoming year I believe that we will focus a bit more on depression and anti-bullying in which we witness on a day to day basis as it is relevant to our peers and will hopefully bring more club members along with it. I can't wait to see what this year has in store!

I would definitely encourage future SADD members to attend this conference, as I believe it was an influential and amazing experience.  I am very appreciative that DCH Tustin Acura has helped sponsor me in attending a wonderfully memorable experience at the conference.  Without the help from the sponsorship, I probably would not have even thought about attending this spectacular conference.  I really appreciate it and am very thankful.  A special thanks to Rochelle Shirkhanbaigi for leading us and making the conference that much more memorable.  

Sincerely,
Brandon 
 


"I am so fortunate for the experiences I've been blessed with."
 By Michelle G. of Beckman High School
Newly Elected to 2013-14 SADD National Student Leadership Counsel
July 2013

Being a teenager amongst today's society can be tough. Making friends, maintaining positive Grades, being accepted... these are all problems that teenagers face every day. However, by joining SADD I was able to challenge them all.

From the middle of elementary school to middle school never really felt accepted by my family and classmates or peers. Even my teachers at school would feel sorry for me. I was forced to contain myself to be this shy figure often I was afraid of if I said the wrong thing and I still do! The summer before high school I was able to make friends. I had taken up some summer classes and got to know people. The funny thing was, I had gotten so close with some people outside of my school within several days while I still struggle maintaining a conversation with some I went to school with for more than a decade.

When I joined SADD, I really appreciated the message it promoted and so I joined. I had no backstory some of the others may have had... none of my immediate family members drank or smoked and those who did lived across the ocean in China. I just wanted to take part in an activity where I could connect with some other students of my school and keep myself busy.

Joining SADD would not be the same experience without DCH Auto Group or DCH Tustin Acura supporting us. They have supported my school and my chapter from when I first came as a freshman and now when I will be leaving as a senior. Wow, senior year. This really brings tears to my eyes to write this and have my SADD high school career end.

My freshman year I paid to attend the SADD National Conference 2011 in Chicago and was in love. I compare it to a long distance relationship and finally seeing your partner in person. Seeing what other chapters have done, and the mere fact that other chapters existed across the nation surprised me pleasantly. The moment I saw the Student Leadership Council, I knew I wanted to join the group that unified all the SADD students together. I wanted to be held responsible if attendees did not have a special time at conference.

During my sophomore year after conference I was more motivated than ever to start having events like the other chapters were doing. However, needless to say there were many issues which prevented the members to feel like members and the chapter started to fall apart. After attending the conference in Torrance, I was still SADD hungry.

I joined the California SADD SLC to represent some of the issues I knew some chapters were facing in my area, and to connect with the other great chapters of California. I took up the control of the chapter and we organized a stronger board with various events such as movie nights to fundraisers to a great end of the year rally. I had never seen and been able to work with such a dedicated group than my peers at SADD. Seeing the end of the year rally truly touched my heart.

Fast forwarding to now, now I am the president of the Beckman SADD Chapter as well as the California SLC Member of the SADD National SLC I have big plans for my last high school year and beyond. I plan on working with the SLC to see which key events our chapter could focus on each month and offer various lessons at our meetings opposed to boring event information. I plan on teaming up with other chapters some around my area, some farther to help unify California SADD chapters.

Additionally, I want to start a forum where chapters and members can freely post any questions, and events/activities they are doing and I really want SADD National to be more unified than ever. Every chapter, every member in itself is a member of SADD National. Yet unfortunately not everyone can come to conference. I want to bring the amazing essence of the conferences I've attended and bring it back home for the students to have.

I am a strong believer in leaving things better than you found them. My biggest goal is leaving this chapter to the next president in good hands. I know it can be difficult to take a position thrust upon you and not being able to contact anybody who has done it before.

In my future plans I plan on attending Loyola Marymount University (if accepted) in Los Angeles and starting a chapter there or whichever university I attend as well as being an open book for any member or leader of SADD to contact me. I hope to serve on the SADD National SLC once more or if possible as the Student of the Year to further cultivate more accessible resources for schools who aren't fortunate to have DCH sponsorships to support them in having successful chapters, and for chapters in general to have a myriad of ideas of events/activities for their school year.

I am so fortunate for the experiences I've been blessed with. I've matured, and grown up with SADD and the members of SADD. If I was forced to take any extracurricular away from my life SADD would be last on the list. I care too much about SADD and the message it stresses upon because it is well needed in the society we live in today.

Sincerely,
Michelle
 


If you would like additional information on how you can help support the future of students making a positive difference in their schools and the ongoing efforts. Please email Rochelle Shirkhanbaigi at rochelles@dchtustinacura.com 


Visit //sadd.org  for information about SADD and visit //www.dchtsdf.org  to learn more about  DCH Teen Safe Driving Foundation,
both are non-profit organizations.