The Pennsylvania National Guard Counterdrug Program, Drug Free Pennsylvania and WGAL 8, are partnering in the 2nd annual statewide television and radio public service announcement (PSA) contest called "Sound Off!" This year's contest will provide youth with the opportunity to tell parents/adults what they don't know about drug use in an effort to bridge the generation gap, foster parent and child discussions, and reduce drug and alcohol use among their peers.The "Sound Off!" contest is designed to help educate middle school students to become better consumers of the media by learning the process of media production, an initiative that both the Pennsylvania National Guard Counterdrug Program and Drug Free Pennsylvania encourage through school-based curriculums.

"We were thrilled with the creativity the students displayed last year in developing the television and radio PSAs and believe their efforts this year will encourage parents and caregivers to keep lines of communication open with their children regarding drugs and alcohol," said Chad Rohrbach, Executive Director of Drug Free Pennsylvania. "Our hope is that the contest will enable students to better understand the messages they receive from all forms of media to become more critical media consumers."

The contest is open to all public, private, and home-educated Pennsylvania students in grades 6, 7 and 8. ˆ Contest submissions must be received by February 1, 2009. The winning teams will have their public service announcement professionally produced to air on television or radio stations throughout the state. In addition, the winning teams will be invited to present their public service announcement to educators at a statewide media literacy conference in Harrisburg on April 3, 2009.

"The National Guard, Drug Free Pennsylvania and WGAL are proud to continue to offer such a competition to youth in the Commonwealth," said Major Gilbert Durand, the Drug Demand Reduction Administrator for the Pennsylvania National Guard. ˆ "This competition is a fun way to get kids involved in healthy educational activities."

"We look forward to helping the National Guard and Drug Free Pennsylvania build upon the success of the first year of this project," commented Paul Quinn, President and General Manager of WGAL. "The PSA contest continues to be a great fit for our Learning Matters program as it has the potential to touch hundreds of middle school students throughout the Susquehanna Valley. ˆ With the help of our Learning Matters partner, Belco Community Credit Union, we will promote the contest to school districts in our broadcast area in hopes of getting a high level of participation from their students." Quinn concluded.

Official contest rules, instructions and sample lessons of producing a television or radio public service announcement for "Sound Off!" can be found at www.counterdrug.org/psacontest.html. For questions about the contest please contact the Pennsylvania National Guard Counterdrug Program at RAPSA_Contest@state.pa.us.

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