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Simply put, as our future, children are the most worthwhile initiative for our investment of time. There is nothing more crucial than educating our youth of the importance of solid decision-making and the role that our choices play throughout our lives. In mixing the tools of innovation, fun, and positive messaging, the National Center for Prevention and Research Solutions (NCPRS) is uniquely positioned to make a positive difference in the lives of those who will make up future generations.
Thanks again for making it possible to reach out to kids through motorsports.
I had a blast in NH at Monadnock Speedways working at the RAD Racing event with Angela. Angela is an amazing women, her and her family were so kind to me. Angela has amazing passion for RAD, it is so inspiring to see her in action. I was so excited to have so many opportunities to talk to sponsors, kids, teens, parents, grandparents, families and even the local radio station, about how effective the RAD program is. I was so excited to help Fuel a Drug Free Future in NH by sharing my drug free message with people by, giving out CDs and over a hundred autograph cards. It was a fun event, where we reached many people in the community.
by Justin Onderko
RAD Racing Team Spokesperson
First, you have to appreciate the way the day started. I had to work in the morning, and planned on being wrapped up by lunch. That did not happen, not even close, and to add to it, the show car somehow ended up with a flat right front tire. No big deal - right? Yep - then factor in the traffic, and we are running late to what should be a nice event. At this point, we are unloading the car and being directed into our spot. Now put all this together along with some rain and you have the start of what I thought was going to be a long night.
We did not see many kids - but I have to tell you about one in particular. Up to this point, I was mostly seeing little kids. This one young man came over to look at the racecar, and I could tell he was either late junior high school or early senior high school age. These kids are most important; they need the message the most (often, though, these are the kids that blow you off the quickest). It has taken some time for me to realize that, and how to kind of sneak the message into the conversation, but I'm getting better.
I started talking to him and I could tell, he didn't want anything to do with me, he just wanted to see the racecar. About halfway through, I mentioned RAD, and what we do. With the little kids I often trade autographs for pledges, but that doesn’t work with the older ones. I told him that we had a pledge book, and that I thought that since he was headed into high school and getting older he should sign it. The first time that I ever used a logical approach, but hey - anything is worth a shot. What he said next really hit me hard.
"Yeah, my Mom is all messed up right now,
and we hear it all the time from my Nana.”
So, up to this moment I was slightly annoyed with the evening for not going very well and kind of aggravated for seemingly wasting a Friday night, and here was this kid, walking for a family member who has cancer and has a mother who is messed up on drugs. If there was ever a time that I felt guilty for feeling that way, Friday night was it. He signed my pledge book and we gave him a hat, and he returned to his family.
I begin sharing the story with my family, and as I am telling it to them, he comes back. This time however, he has his younger sister in tow. He doesn't speak to anyone, doesn’t ask anyone, he hands her the pen and points to the pledge book and makes her sign it. I overhear him telling her why and I watch her sign her name to it. After she was finished, they were literally just going to walk away, not say anything - not that they needed to - but they were going to just walk away.
Sharon, some people volunteer at their church, some put time in at the library, some go to other countries and help rebuild. I am a RAD spokesperson, and I am proud of that, but nothing prepared me for what I experienced Friday night. I have been going through the Guide, looking and reading it as I have time. Nowhere in that book do you tell me of the emotion that I will experience. I'm not sure if it’s an age thing, an "as you get older" thing, or just that it’s just what happens - I think I am going to call it the "RAD Emotion.” The "RAD Emotion” is one of surprise, disbelief, guilt, sadness, heartache, and thankfulness. I sometimes just cannot believe how big a problem this is. The way I’ve described it, you may think the "RAD Emotion” is a bad one, but really I mean it in a positive way. It means when you feel it - you're doing your job. I can only take credit for his pledge - he got his sister's.
As they were walking away, I asked them if they wouldn't mind taking a picture with me by the car. Not for you, not for the website, I asked them for me - to remind me of the responsibility that I (we) have to be a positive influence.
I guess I take for granted just how lucky I was to have the upbringing I did. I probably won’t ever see them again, and oddly enough, they probably made a bigger impression on me than I did them, but Friday night was totally worth it. I am glad to be a part of this. I guess to sum it all up, I realized sometimes it’s not the quantity of the kids we see, it’s the quality of the message we bring, and you just never know when/who may take that message in. Thanks again.
RAD Racing Team Spokesperson
“As a parent and grandparent I understand the dangers of illicit drug use for children and families. In my company, Richard Petty Motorsports, we have a zero tolerance policy against drug use. I urge everyone to follow the lead of NCPRS and join the ‘Race Against Drugs’ program in ‘Fueling a Drug Free Future’ for our nation’s youth.”
Seven-Time NASCAR Champion
“As a parent, I understand the importance of protecting my children from the dangers of illicit drug use and giving them the tools to stay on track. I support NCPRS and their Race Against Drugs Program and believe they are truly ‘Fueling a Drug Free Future’ for our young people.”
Three-Time NASCAR National Champion
"I've worked with Race Against Drugs and have seen the positive effect it has on kids of all ages. Drugs limit one's ability to give 100%. Take it from a National Champion - 100% is exactly what it takes to drive a racecar and enjoy life to the fullest. Drugs have no place in anyone's life and I support a zero tolerance policy in motorsports."
Two-Time Grand National Champion
“I’ve been racing since I was a teenager and if there is one thing I know, it’s that there is no place for drugs within motorsports. You have to be at the top of your game to drive a race car – so join the drug free RAD Racing Team and follow your dreams, whatever they are!” --
Ken Schrader, Driver and Car Owner
Two-time USAC Champion
"I want to thank you and Gail for all that you did this past weekend at NELMA. Getting to work with Bergamasco again was a pleasure. I felt so bad that the kids didnt return any of the permission slips, but we made the best of it and hopefully made their day on Saturday. It has been a pleasure working with you this season, not that were done, but it has made me grow as a person, and for that I thank you."
Here is a great reason to contact everyone and to let you all know the recent events that have taken place.
When we started putting the SVS SOT event together, even before that, I believe I’m correct in stating that it was the wish of the Onderko Motorsports / RPM Fabrications Team that had the original vision of doing something for students having participated in the “Stay on Track” (SOT) program which is related to the “Race Against Drugs” (RAD) racing initiative. As the ball, or should I say tire, started to roll Justin Onderko was just an infant—no, that’s another story to be told by someone else more capable than I am of writing a biography. So I’ll get back to the simple task of letting you all know that at that time, the wish of doing something for the SOT students. Justin was very much in the hunt of becoming the Sundance Vacation Speedway’s 2010 Late Model Champion. As it turns out and due to some exceptional driving, Mr. Onderko has done just that, capture the top spot. It became official on 9 October, 2010 as Justin racked up a total 1459 points for the year. Eighty points in front of the second place finisher.
So congratulation Justin and congratulation to the Onderko Motorsports / RPM Fabrications Team. It is a pleasure to be associated and to work with a champion.”
SSG Jeff Bergamasco
That single-minded approach also drove Sharon Clarke on Thursday night, as the Bristol, Va., resident and program manager of Race Against Drugs, handed out cards and gifts promoting RAD’s efforts to use racing – and race drivers – to stop substance abuse, especially among youths.
“It’s gratifying to walk around during the Race Night and have people come up to you and say, ‘Thank you for what you’re doing,’ ” Clarke said, amid the buzzing crowd.
“The idea is to get a child who’s here to go home, remember what RAD is about and the drivers who stand behind it, and say, ‘I can be like that, too,’ ” Clarke said.
Her stirring message was echoed by NASCAR driver Brendan Gaughan, who is among the drivers who promote RAD’s anti-drug message.
“We want kids to know that the people whose respect you really want are the ones who think more of you because you don’t use drugs,” said Gaughan, a Georgetown University graduate who played college basketball and football before pursuing auto racing.
“There’s so many great things in life they can do if they’re willing to take that stand,” Gaughan said. “Any way I can help more kids do that, I’ll be there to offer it.”
Sharon, that is the coolest aspect of your job! You and Scott along with the rest of the RAD team will never ever know who or how many lives that you have saved...but you have:-)
I am so very thankful for what the RAD team does for the children of our communites throughout the United States.
Thank you for what you stand for, what you do and for who you are!
Thank's again for arranging this for Amanda Ferguson on a Saturday morning. You ROCK!
First, I would like to thank Sharon and her team for all they have done for us at Onderko Motorsports. They are dedicated, knowledgeable and truly caring people.
It is our pleasure to be associated with the cause, Race Against Drugs and their Stay on Track Program. I think we all fully understand the pressures and temptations facing our nation’s children and realize without the efforts of RAD and Stay on Track our children would have few role models to look to.
Justin has always had the mindset to give back as much as he gets and given this opportunity to be a spokesperson for RAD is a perfect way to continue that effort.
Randy, I just wanted to write a quick note to thank you for coming to Nashville this weekend. It was our family's first, but certainly not last, Monster Jam. My little boy Mason has loved you for a while, ever since he found out you live in Tennessee. "Dad, WE live in Tennessee too!" He also thinks it's cool that you have "light hair" like he does. At the pit party last night, he wanted to show you his little War Wizard Hot Wheel, because he was so proud of it. Since you signed it, he has been on top of the world. Thanks for making the night of a 4 year old a lot of fun. We will definitely be watching you on the circuit and hope to see you at more shows in the future!
Also, thank you very much for being involved with Race Against Drugs. As a police officer, it is an important cause to me and you're a role model to kids everywhere with your work in the program.