Miss New York 2013
Amanda Mason is a 24 year-old graduate student currently in her last year at the internationally renowned conservatory, Manhattan School of Music working toward her master’s degree in Classical Voice. She has training in theater, musical theater, dance and film. For opera she has trained in the U.S. and Europe under the instruction of numerous renowned Opera professionals. Amanda was the youngest Soprano invited to study in Verona, Italy in the Opera Viva program and also in Montepulciano, Italy in the Corso d'Opera program.
She is as passionate about performing arts, as she is an activist. Since the age of fourteen Amanda has worked with numerous non-profit organizations across the country: American Heart Association, Building Homes for Heroes, Make-A-Wish, Locks of Love and Children's Miracle Network Hospitals to name a few.
As Miss New York, Amanda continues to advocate her personal platform to educate youth about the dangers of abusing drugs and alcohol through her “Middle School Movement: Reaching Youth Before Alcohol and Drugs Do” prevention program. The Middle School Movement not only includes drug and alcohol information, but helpful steps on how to maintain a healthy life to accomplish one's dreams. Amanda shares these steps with kids through her acronym she created, DREAM (Determination, Respect, Evaluate, Accountability and Motivation). These are the exact steps she took in middle school to get where she is today. Her Drug Prevention Work Includes:
- National Youth Spokesperson, National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence
- Educated on drug abuse, addiction and prevention through the Credentialed Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Counselor Program
- National Youth Spokesperson, Safe America Foundation
- National Ambassador, Boys and Girls Clubs of America
- 10 years of experience educating youth about the dangers of abusing drugs and alcohol
STATE OF NEW YORK
OFFICE OF ALCOHOLISM
AND SUBSTANCE ABUSE SERVICES
Jannette Rondó, 518-457-8299
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 8, 2014
Reaching Kids before Alcohol and Drugs Do!
Miss New York and OASAS Launch Alcohol and Drug Prevention Campaign Aimed at
Middle School Students and Their Families
Albany, NY –Today the New York State Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services
announced it is teaming up with Miss New York 2013, Amanda Mason, on her mission,
Reaching Kids before Alcohol and Drugs Do, a comprehensive anti-drug and alcohol
campaign targeting middle school students and their families.
The campaign kickoff will be held Thursday, May 8, 2014, at 11 a.m. at Middle School I.S.
077, 976 Seneca Ave., Queens, NY.
The campaign focuses on helping kids identify and understand the dangers of prescription,
over the counter, and illegal drugs and alcohol and how they affect the body, and offers tips
for talking to parents and other adults.
“In middle school I made a conscious decision that I wanted to live a healthy lifestyle in order
to reach my goal of becoming a professional opera singer,” said Mason. “As Miss New York, I
have the opportunity to educate kids about America’s number one public health problem:
adolescent substance abuse.”
Mason has begun to deliver motivational presentations in middle schools across New York
State in recent weeks, informing students about the dangers of drugs and alcohol and
encouraging them to make healthy choices in life.
“The best solution to ending this drug epidemic is by preventing drug abuse in the first place,”
said González-Sanchez. “That’s why OASAS and its more than 180 prevention providers
across New York State are pleased to support Miss New York in her campaign.”
Drug and alcohol use by middle school students is a serious public health problem. According
to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, forty percent of eighth graders have tried alcohol and
15 percent have reported using some sort of illegal drug.
Mason, 24, is a student at the Manhattan School of Music working on her master's degree in
classical voice. She is also the youth spokesperson for the National Council on Alcoholism
and Drug Dependence, and is educated on drug abuse, addiction and prevention through the
credentialed alcoholism and substance abuse counselor program.
Mason will continue to make her appearances at middle schools in communities statewide.
"In our public schools, we help students understand the effects of drugs and alcohol," Deputy
Chancellor of Operations Kathleen Grimm said. "This message resonates even stronger
when we have partners, such as Commissioner Arlene González-Sánchez and Miss New
York Amanda Mason. I want to thank them for their support."
"IS 77 in District 24, has enjoyed an excellent working relationship with OASAS over the
years," said IS 77 Principal Joseph A. Miller. "The work of our SAPIS workers is priceless as
they educate our students to the dangers of alcohol and drug abuse. We welcome to our
school community, Miss New York, Amanda Mason and all our guests on May 8 to the
presentation of 'Reaching Kids before Alcohol and Drugs Do.'"
“Miss New York Amanda Mason’s positive and uplifting message for middle school students
will help CANYS continue its work advocating about problems related to alcohol and drug
misuse,” said Julie Dostal, Ph.D, CPP, president of the Council on Addictions of New York
"Whenever a highly-visible young leader like Amanda Mason takes on substance abuse
prevention as a cause, that is a tremendous benefit to all our work. We applaud her for
helping to educate youth and parents about the dangers of drug use, and know our member
coalitions throughout the Empire State join us in this sentiment,” said Gen. Arthur T. Dean,
Chairman and CEO, Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America (CADCA).
Michael Botticelli, acting director of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy
said, “Prevention is the most powerful, cost-effective tool we have to reduce drug use and its
consequences in America – particularly when it comes to young people. We have a
responsibility to ensure that each new generation has our support in making healthy
decisions about their futures. We are not powerless against this challenge and we hope
more communities will join us to make our communities healthier and safer through
“We know that middle school is a crucial time in a young person’s life. Young people are
growing and learning at a rapid pace, experiencing the stress of transitions to middle school
and high school, and forming many lifelong habits, including some that are harmful such as
drug use or drinking behaviors,” said Frances M. Harding, director for the Substance Abuse
and Mental Health Services Administration’s Center for Substance Abuse Prevention. “We
also know that parents and caregivers are the primary influencers in preventing underage
drinking and can help youth avoid the risks associated with drinking alcohol such as injury or
death from accidents, academic problems, and drug use. “
Amanda Mason assumed the title of Miss New York in September, 2013 when the reigning
Miss New York was crowned Miss America. The Miss New York organization is an official
state franchise of the Miss America organization.
OASAS oversees one of the nation’s largest addiction services systems with more than 1,600
prevention, treatment and recovery programs. OASAS treatment programs assist about
100,000 people on any given day and more than 240,000 individuals every year.
Amanda Mason Singing Je Veux Vivre from Gounod's Opera Romeo et Juliette
In middle school, Amanda Mason decided she wanted to become an professional singer. To follow her dream, she chose to lead a healthy lifestyle and avoid negative obstacles. She created steps to follow her dream. Now, she shares those steps with kids, in hopes of "Reaching Youth Before Alcohol and Drugs Do."
Amanda’s presentations are suited for classroom or assembly, and will be customized for each individual school. The presentation can cover the following topics:
- "The Dangers of Drugs and How they Affect the Body": Identifying and understanding the dangers and affects of Prescription Drugs (depressants, stimulants and opioids), Legal Drugs (over the counter: cough medicine, diet pills, inhalants and bath salts) and Illegal Drugs (marijuana, heroin, ‘molly’ and specific drugs affecting your community)
- "The Dangers of Alcohol and How they Affect the Body": Understanding the physical affects of alcohol while learning the short and long term affects (brain development and body functions)
- "You Are Not Alone": Tips for talking to parents and other adults
- Role Play: Negotiation Skills, Effective Ways to Say No & Handling Peer Pressure
- Myth Busters: What’s True and What’s Not (individual or team)
- Drunk Goggles: The dangerous physical affects of alcohol
The DREAM Program
- Determination: Keeping Focused on a Dream
- Respect: Having Respect for Yourself and Others
- Evaluation: Evaluate Situations and Make Positive Choices
- Accountability: Owning Up to Your Actions
- Motivation: Making a Commitment to Accomplish Your Goals
*The program can be adapted for High School Students. Topics include, Identifying Addiction, Impaired Driving, Party Peer Pressure and Resource Information.
*For Kindergarden through 5th grade Amanda talks about Dreams, Keeping Active, Staying Healthy, How to Set Goals and Making Good Choices.