4th Grade Students at NJ Artwork Premiere


April 13, 2011
Contact: Michelle Vernuccio, Media Coordinator
Office: 973.467.2100, ext. 24
E-mail: michelle@drugfreenj.org


Fourth Grade Students Say No To Drugs

Angelo M. Valente, Executive Director of the Partnership for a Drug-Free New Jersey, center, and Douglas W. Schoenberger, Vice President of Public Affairs for Verizon, center right, are pictured with the winners of the 2011 “Fun Things To Do Instead of Drugs” substance abuse prevention message contest for fourth grade students across New Jersey. Armando Alvarado of Belleville School #7, Belleville, Essex County, and Olivia Yalden of Howard C. Johnson Elementary School, Jackson, Ocean County had their artwork selected as the grand prize winning entries during an April 13, 2011 award ceremony, held at Verizon’s headquarters in Newark, New Jersey. They are pictured with their parents, Arthur and Rose Alvarado, left, and Rose Yalden, right.  As grand prize winners, their artwork will be featured on folders that will be distributed to 25,000 New Jersey Fourth Grade Students in September 2011. 

(NEWARK) – This past school year, 7,000 fourth grade students from all parts of New Jersey participated in the Partnership for a Drug Free New Jersey/Verizon Design a Fourth Grade Folder Contest.  The students from Fourth Grade classrooms across New Jersey were challenged to create peer-to-peer substance abuse prevention messages. The theme of the contest was “Fun Things to do Instead of Drugs.”  

On Wednesday, April 13, 2011 the artwork of 30 finalists were on display at the Verizon headquarters in Newark. A ceremony honoring the finalists was held and the two grand prize winners were announced: Armando Alvarado of Belleville School #7 and Olivia Yalden of Howard C. Johnson Elementary School in Jackson. Alvarado and Yalden’s peer-to-peer substance abuse prevention messages will be duplicated on 25,000 folders that will be distributed to every school in New Jersey, beginning in September 2011.  

“We applaud these young people from around the state who came up with very entertaining and creative ways to spend time doing the right things in life and their ideas can be emulated by all,” said Dennis Bone, President of Verizon New Jersey.  “The Partnership plays a vital role in this state helping show children and teens that there are alternatives to drugs and those alternatives are fun, rewarding and fulfilling.” 

“The Partnership for a Drug-Free New Jersey has consistently believed that early prevention programs like the Fourth Grade Folder Contest, are effective ways to actively engage New Jersey’s young people in selecting and maintaining a drug free, healthy lifestyle,” says Angelo M. Valente, executive director, PDFNJ.

 Click here for press coverage regarding this event.

Best known for its statewide anti-drug advertising campaign, the Partnership for a Drug-Free New Jersey is a private not-for-profit coalition of professionals from the communications, corporate and government communities whose collective mission is to reduce demand for illicit drugs in New Jersey through media communication.  To date, more than $55 million in broadcast time and print space has been donated to the Partnership’s New Jersey campaign, making it the largest public service advertising campaign in New Jersey’s history. Since its inception the Partnership has garnered 97Advertising and Public Relations Awards from National, Regional & Statewide Media Organizations.