MoDOT Gives Grant for Statewide Teen Sobriety Program

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JEFFERSON CITY - After a grant from the Missouri Department of Transportation announced Tuesday, the Missouri Safe and Sober program will be able to expand and provide educational materials to any school in the state.

Safe and Sober founder Kurt Larson announced the grant and expansion at the MoDOT Highway Safety office. The program will receive payments totalling $130,000 throughout the year.

Safe and Sober is a program designed to educate Missouri secondary and college students about dangers of underage drinking. The program asks students to pledge to stay alcohol free.

Founder Kurt Larson started the program nine years ago as a way for students to pledge to be alcohol free on prom night in the Springfield area. Since then, the program has expanded into a pledge to stay sober until the time the participants turn 21.

Springfield Mercy Hospital's Injury Prevention Center and Larson teamed up together with MoDOT to change the program to a year-round effort available to students across the state.

Larson said the money from MoDOT will help the program expand geographically, as well as increase the depth of the services it will provide.

He said the program will consist of videos, a new website and simulations and demonstrations of the risks of teen drinking. There will also be information available for parents encouraging them to talk to their kids about alcohol and sobriety.

Another part of the program will be a competition between schools in Missouri. Schools will compete to have higher pledge rates.

Results of the pledges will be posted online so the community can see which schools are most successful.