Nebraska’s First Lady and MADD National President Kick-Off National Victim Assistance Training in Nebraska

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Specialized Training Enhances Services to Victims and Survivors in Rural Communities

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At MADD, we often say ‘first there’s the crash, then the lifelong impact.’

Nebraska’s First Lady Sally Ganem is teaming up with Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) National President Jan Withers to raise awareness about the importance of supporting those who’ve been impacted by drunk driving and underage drinking.

As a member of MADD’s National Board of Directors, First Lady Ganem is hosting President Withers and those attending the MADD National Victim Assistance Training Institute (VATI) being held on Friday, August 9 and Saturday, August 10 in Lincoln, Nebraska. President Withers will attend the VATI, which will focus on enhancing MADD Victim Services for impaired driving victims and survivors in rural communities.

“At MADD, we often say ‘first there’s the crash, then the lifelong impact,’” said Withers, whose 15-year-old daughter, Alisa, was killed by an underage drunk driver. “We know that being a victim or survivor of a drunk driving crash is life-altering, but we also know that every person has varying needs and circumstances to consider when providing support, so MADD Victim Services is training victim advocates on how best to serve people in rural areas.”

First Lady Ganem added, “Throughout my years of work with MADD, I’ve learned what an important impact MADD Victim Services can have for an individual and family. Like many states, Nebraska has far too many victims in rural communities who feel isolated from others who may share a similar experience. This training will help reach those individuals.”

According to the Nebraska Office of Highway Safety, in 2012, 87 people were killed in alcohol-related crashes in Nebraska, and 1,209 people were injured in alcohol-related crashes. This includes 11 alcohol-related fatalities of Nebraska teenagers (aged 15-19).

MADD serves more than 63,000 victims and survivors each year; that’s one every eight minutes, at no charge. Services include a 24/7 Help Line (1-877-MADD-HELP), emotional support, court accompaniment, assistance navigating the legal system, information about crime victims’ compensation and more.

Another specialized VATI focused on enhancing services for victims and survivors in Native American communities will be held later this month in Albuquerque, N.M. Both VATIs are funded by a grant from the Office for Victims of Crime, which is part of the U.S. Department of Justice.

For more information about MADD Victim Services, visit http://www.madd.org/victim-services/.

About Mothers Against Drunk Driving

Founded by a mother whose daughter was killed by a drunk driver, Mothers Against Drunk Driving® (MADD) is the nation’s largest nonprofit working to protect families from drunk driving and underage drinking. With the help of those who want a safer future, MADD’s Campaign to Eliminate Drunk Driving® will end this danger on America’s roads. PowerTalk 21® is the national day for parents to talk with their kids about alcohol, using the proven strategies of Power of Parents® to reduce the risk of underage drinking. And as one of the largest victim services organizations in the U.S., MADD also supports drunk and drugged driving victims and survivors at no charge, serving one person every eight minutes through local MADD victim advocates and at 1-877-MADD-HELP. Learn more at http://www.madd.org or by calling 1-877-ASK-MADD.

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