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CARE at Susquehanna University Debuts at SADD Anniversary Gala

Published on December 2, 2011

Stephen WallaceSusquehanna University announced the opening of its new Center for Adolescent Research and Education (CARE) at a gala event Dec. 1 at the John Fitzgerald Kennedy Library and Museum in Boston. The Friends for Life Inaugural Gala celebrated the 30th anniversary of Boston-based Students Against Destructive Decisions (SADD) and marked the achievements of departing board chairman and CEO Stephen Wallace, who will serve as director of CARE at Susquehanna University.

L. Jay Lemons, Susquehanna University president, served as honorary co-chair of the event, which celebrated Wallace’s 15 years of service to youth and families through SADD (formerly Students Against Driving Drunk), the nation’s leading youth-based, peer-to-peer education, prevention and activism organization. Author and medical journalist Jeanne Blake served as mistress of ceremonies, with speakers including SADD Board Chairman Danna Mauch and SADD Executive Director Penny Wells. Some 225 people attended the dinner and awards presentation, including students who are members of SADD chapters in their schools.

Addressing the guests, Lemons said, “Susquehanna is pleased to collaborate with Stephen on this new venture, because it is consistent with the university’s commitment to academic inquiry and research. It is our expectation that the work of the center will provide an important resource for families, schools and communities, not just regionally but nationally.

“With the passion, experience and knowledge that Stephen brings to his work, and the academic contributions of Susquehanna University, the center holds great promise.”

A portion of event proceeds will help fund future CARE at Susquehanna University research. Operating under Wallace, a 1981 Susquehanna graduate, the center will study factors in teen attitudes, behaviors and decision-making. In addition to his work with SADD, Wallace brings three decades of work as a school psychologist, adolescent counselor, researcher, author and motivational speaker to his new position.

“At Susquehanna, we will continue to go beyond just ‘what’ teens are doing to analyze the ‘whys’ of teen behavior,” Wallace said. “And we will create communication tools to empower parents and other adults to play a more active role in guiding the choices young people make on their way to maturity.”

Michael D. Smith, associate professor of psychology at Susquehanna, will serve as academic research coordinator and facilitate collaborations that involve faculty and students in the center’s research.

The center will pursue private and public funding to support research on teens and tweens, including personal development, underage drinking and drug use, sexual behavior, driving, bullying, violence and suicide. SADD will collaborate with Susquehanna’s CARE in research projects.

An advisory board will be appointed to help guide the new center. It will include representatives of Susquehanna University’s administration and faculty as well as prominent individuals in the fields of psychology, sociology, medicine, business, and secondary and higher education.

Wallace is the author of Reality Gap: Alcohol, Drugs and Sex—What Parents Don’t Know and Teens Aren’t Telling, rated as one of the top 50 books for parents of tweens and teens. He has directed many “Teens Today” research studies for SADD and is a frequent contributor to broadcast stories on teen behavior for outlets such as NBC’s “Today” Show, CNN, Fox News Channel and others. He has served as spokesperson for the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy and is a frequent speaker at national conferences. Wallace is a member of the DUI Committee for the Institute for Behavior and Health in Washington, D.C. He has authored more than 65 op-ed articles on youth development and decision-making in newspapers around the country.


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