Organization Emphasizing Alcohol Poisoning Awareness/Action Announces Executive Director
Debra Johnson has joined the nationally focused and Austin-headquartered organization Aware Awake Alive as executive director. The role is key for the nonprofit, and the culmination of Johnson's career-built serving communities across Texas.
Austin, Texas (I-Newswire) January 23, 2013 - WHO: Aware Awake Alive: A nonprofit working to save lives from alcohol poisoning
WHAT: Announcing Debra Johnson as first Executive Director
WEB: www.awareawakealive.org, www.facebook.com/AwareAwakeAlive, @AwareAwakeAlive
MEDIA: For interviews and information, email@example.com 512/904.9928
Debra Johnson has joined the nationally focused and Austin-headquartered organization Aware Awake Alive as executive director. The role is key for the nonprofit, and the culmination of Johnson's career-built serving communities across Texas through social service nonprofits and national causes dedicated to health and wellbeing. Johnson came to the organization from Mothers Against Drunk Driving (Austin) where she served as the Texas State Executive Director, prior to which she was a national staff member of Susan G. Komen for the Cure (Dallas).
“I strongly believe in the urgent need for this organization's nationally focused mission to equip youth and their communities with the tools and confidence to prevent lives lost from alcohol poisoning,” says Johnson.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 1 in 3 college students are binge drinking-defined as episodic excessive drinking. Prevalence of drinking among high school students is 42% for current alcohol use, 1 in 4 for binge drinking. Every 12 days, a college student in the United States will die of alcohol poisoning.
"We're thrilled to have Debra now leading this organization," says Aware Awake Alive co-founder Julia Starkey, continuing "There is so much work to be done to fight this universal, silent epidemic of alcohol overdose among our young people.” On December 2, 2008, following a fraternity initiation ritual where he was compelled to drink large quantities of alcohol, Julia and Scott Starkey's son Carson died of acute alcohol poisoning at age 18. The Starkeys will assume an advisory role-ceding every day operations to Johnson.
In her decades of service Johnson has previously worked as the founding executive director of the Houston Affiliate of Y-ME National Breast Cancer Organization (Houston), development director of Hope Cottage Pregnancy and Adoption Center (Dallas), executive director of Prevent Blindness Texas (Fort Worth), Education Director at The Parenting Center (Fort Worth), community relations director at The Easter Seal Society for Children and Adults (Fort Worth), and blood services director for Plainfield Area Red Cross (Plainfield, NJ).
More about Debra Johnson
Johnson came to Aware Awake Alive in January 2013 from Mothers Against Drunk Driving, where she served as the Texas state executive director where she was responsible for overseeing the six Texas regions with 14 offices. Previously, she was a national staff member of Susan G. Komen for the Cure, an internal consultant for some of the largest Komen Affiliates-working on capacity building and strategic planning; fundraising and development; staff management; board governance; public relations and marketing; and public policy and advocacy.
Her first nonprofit position was with the Red Cross in New Jersey, where she acted as blood services director. She was one of the earliest people trained by the Red Cross to present AIDS education. Next, while education director at The Parenting Center in Fort Worth, she oversaw programs that assisted more than 18,000 individuals a year and created several parenting courses.
Then as executive director of Prevent Blindness Texas in Fort Worth, she revitalized that organization and created a preschool vision screening program that was supported by the Junior Leagues of Fort Worth and Arlington. As the development director of Hope Cottage Pregnancy and Adoption Center in Dallas, she established programs that assisted very young mothers and was instrumental in helping some of these women pursue their educations.
In 2004, Johnson became the founding executive director of the Houston Affiliate of Y-ME National Breast Cancer Organization, building outreach programs that reached medical underserved women in the Houston area who had no access to breast cancer screenings and services.
Notably, Johnson began her career in ministry and was the first woman in history ordained by the Hungarian Reformed Church, serving a church in Roebling, New Jersey for five years. She is a graduate of Connecticut College and Yale Divinity School. She has one son, Marcus, who lives in Austin with his wife.
About Aware Awake Alive
The Austin-based, nationally focused organization prevents loss of life to alcohol poisoning by educating teens, young adults and parents on the dangers and symptoms of alcohol overdose by generating awareness and dialog around openness and amnesty-based policy. Through a national awareness campaign, on-campus collaboration empowering students with powerful resources, and advocacy on a state-by state-level, the organization is working daily to dispel the myths of alcohol poisoning. After the death of Carson in 2008, the Starkey family formed the nonprofit that became “Aware Awake Alive”.
In 2009, the organization worked with Texas Senator Kirk Watson to secure the Carson Starkey Alcohol Awareness and Education Act. This legislation permanently places alcohol education in the curriculum of all Texas public schools. In 2011, Aware Awake Alive and Senator Watson created the Texas 911 Lifeline Law. This state law offers limited immunity to minors who do the right thing and seek help in an alcohol related emergency.
Aware Awake Alive works closely with high schools and universities implementing the Aware Awake Alive Toolbox program to campuses across the country. The organization actively coordinates with administrators and students to help customize a unique program specific to each campus, while continuing to support their local communities of Austin, Texas and San Luis Obispo, California by providing educational scholarships.
Learn more and get involved at www.awareawakealive.org
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Published On:January 23, 2013
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