NJ 4th Grade Students Featured at Statewide Prevention Artwork Premiere




                                                                                    Matt Scuteri

                                                                                    Media Coordinator

                                                                                    Office: 973.467.2100, ext. 24

                                                                                    E-mail: matt@drugfreenj.org







The Partnership for a Drug-Free New Jersey, in conjunction with Verizon New Jersey, named Poorva Phatak of John F. Kennedy School in Wayne and Pedro Reyes of PS #25 in Jersey City the 2014 co-winners of the Fourth Grade Folder Contest. Their artwork will be distributed on over 35,000 folders across New Jersey. (l-r) Douglas Schoenberger, Vice President of Corporate Responsibility and Public Policy, Verizon New Jersey, Gail Gultz, Poorva’s teacher, Milan Phatak, Poorva’s mother, Prakash Phatak, Poorva’s father, Poorva Phatak, Kathleen Toy, Pedro’s teacher, Pedro Reyes, and Angelo M. Valente, Executive Director, Partnership for a Drug-Free New Jersey


(NEWARK) – Over 8,000 fourth grade students from across New Jersey participated in the Fourteenth Annual Partnership for a Drug Free New Jersey/Verizon New Jersey 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 Doing Drugs.”

The artwork of 30 finalists was on display at the Newark Museum’s Billy Johnson Auditorium during a ceremony honoring the finalists and announcing the two grand prize winners: Poorva Phatak of John F. Kennedy School in Wayne and Pedro Reyes of Nicolas Copernicus School #25 in Jersey City. Phatak and Reyes’ peer-to-peer substance abuse prevention artwork will be featured on 35,000 folders that will be distributed to schools throughout New Jersey in September 2014.

“These fourth graders from around the state are setting tremendous examples for others to follow,” said Douglas W. Shoenberger, Vice President of Corporate Responsibility and Public Policy for Verizon New Jersey.  “With their creativity and enthusiasm, they are to be commended for delivering compelling messages through their artwork to other students about enjoying a healthy life without drugs.  Thanks to The Partnership for a Drug-Free New Jersey, this contest helps children and teens understand that there are alternatives to drugs that are fun and rewarding.”

“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,” explained Angelo M. Valente, executive director, Partnership for a Drug-Free New Jersey.

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 $70 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 120 Advertising and Public Relations Awards from National, Regional & Statewide Media Organizations.