WASHINGTON (NNS) -- Naval Computer and Telecommunications Area Master Station Atlantic's (NCTAMS LANT) Drug Education For Youth (DEFY) program won the 28th annual Secretary of Defense Community Drug Awareness Award and the 2018 Secretary of Defense Fulcrum Shield Award and were recognized at a Hall of Heroes ceremony at the Pentagon Oct. 18, 2018.
This is the first time a DEFY Program has won both awards at the same time.
Also, a few DEFY youth participants were in attendance, another first!
The awards were presented at the 2018 Department of Defense Red Ribbon Week Ceremony. During the event, the 28th Annual Secretary of Defense Community Drug Awareness Awards were presented to units and installations within each of the military services, the National Guard Bureau and Defense Agencies. The award was established in 1990 in an effort to promote community drug awareness efforts within the DoD community.
The Fulcrum Shield Award was established to recognize the efforts of independent military-affiliated youth organizations that have successfully assisted in articulating the anti-drug message through their community.
“No one starts off with a goal of abuse or addiction. They often start by just wanting relief and they take one step down the path they often cannot easily turn back from,” said Executive Director, Office of Force Resiliency Dr. Elizabeth P. Van Winkle, who holds a doctorate in Applied Experimental Psychology. “I would like to personally congratulate each of the 2018 winners and offer my heartfelt appreciation for all that you do. You should be extremely proud of all you have accomplished. Continue to innovate and lead. You are indeed fighting a force bigger than all of us. Keep fighting and in doing so, you keep those members off the path to addiction. Know you are making a difference in ways you don’t even realize.”
DEFY delivers year-long leadership and life-skills training for military and DoD civilian children ages 9 to 12.
The awards were received by Dr. Sharon Shaw, who recently earned her doctorate in Organizational Leadership with Specialization in Information Systems Technology. Shaw currently works at Naval Information Forces. DEFY NCTAMS is headed by Shaw, who is responsible for ensuring that all activities are planned prior to the execution of Phase 1 and Phase 2. Having been involved in the program for 18 years, Shaw is also responsible for recruiting, selecting, and training the staff each year. She establishes and maintains support and links with community organizations to recruit youth and mentors, as well as other resources that enhance DEFY.
“It was an honor to represent DEFY and accept the awards on their behalf, but it is truly a team effort,” said Shaw. “The mentors, junior staff members, youth, their parents, and the support from the chain of commands is why we are here today. Without them, the program would not be successful.”
The DEFY program is broken down into two phases throughout the year. The first phase is structured to provide a focused classroom-learning environment teaching leadership, team-building, conflict resolution, goal-setting, and increasing children’s self-confidence. Although the classroom is the focus, leadership camps are structured to provide a fun environment that allows quality-training time, while still permitting a relaxed but organized and memorable experience.
The second phase is a 10-month mentoring program during the school year, in which DEFY youth are matched with an adult mentor team. Mentoring events are built around a curriculum module and are structured to provide reinforcement of skills, techniques and procedures taught in the leadership camp.
“It was an educational year attending all the classes to include the camp,” said one of the children participating in the DEFY program. “It all paid off in the end with the award and a cool trip to the Pentagon.”
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