Gabriella Contreras is an eighth grader at Roskruge Elementary and Middle School in Tucson, Arizona. Having witnessed firsthand the horrors of school violence when drug-related riots broke out opposite her school's playground in third grade, she founded Be Alert and Don't Do Drugs (BADDD), a community-service club whose motto is “Even as youth we can make a positive difference in our home, neighborhood, school and community.” She has taken this message beyond her school, serving as the Arizona Youth Delegate at the President's Summit for America's Future in 1997, and by organizing a citywide Youth Summit in Tucson.
Most recently, Ms. Contreras led a community-wide peace march involving more than 500 people in response to local copy-cat violence that occurred following the Littleton tragedy. She also serves on several national boards, including the 4-H Council, and is a representative for the Department of Health and Human Service's “Girl Power!” initiative, a national public education campaign to encourage girls 9 to 14 years of age to make the most of their lives.
Ms. Contreras has received more than $30,000 in scholarship funds for her community service.
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