It has been four years since 21-year-old Heather Metzger lost her father in a drunk driving crash. Instead of being consumed by her grief, Heather decided to channel it into creating positive change. She has worked tirelessly and diligently in her state to ensure that other families do not suffer needlessly at the hands of a drunk driver.
Prior to her father's death, she created a cartoon character curriculum entitled "Drug Free Me" that stresses the anti-drug message to first through third grade students. Before issuing the children participants their certificate of completion, Heather has them draw a picture of what they want to be when they grow up. She then has them crumple up the picture and throw it away in a trash can labeled "Drugs and Alcohol" symbolizing throwing away their dreams by abusing drugs.
Desiring to create an even greater impact, Heather decided to join forces with Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD), where she shared her personal story with convicted DWI/DUI offenders in the hopes that it will prevent them from endangering their lives and the lives of others again.
Heather has shared her story with thousands of middle and high school students in the past four years. She believes it is not enough to tell young people to "just say no". She encourages the students with whom she speaks to develop a dream and gives them a formula for achieving that dream. Her belief is that young people who are working toward a specific goal are much less likely to let drug and alcohol abuse prevent them from achieving that goal.
At prom time, Heather convinced local formal wear companies to place her pocket-sized flyers containing facts, statistics and stories about drunk driving in rental tuxedos. She has been approached by the County Executive to speak with his Criminal Justice Drug Intervention Program and the Heart of America Foundation has selected her to be one of 15 "Speaking from the Heart" ambassadors nationwide. In addition, MADD has designated her to be the Youth Power Camp Coordinator for Maryland and the Chairperson for the National Youth Summit 2000.