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State Honoree

Dana Davis

Tennessee

and a junior at Gateway Christian School, developed a multi-media stage show using puppetry, music, ventriloquism and audience participation to warn children about the dangers of smoking. “Dana and Company” began in 1997 as a living tribute to Dana’s grandfather, who died after years of tobacco use. Dana, who has been singing and performing professionally since she was 11 years old, felt that helping others choose not to smoke was a great use of her talents. “I wanted to talk not just about the negative effects of tobacco use, but also about positive self-esteem, and teach and inspire students to develop their special talents and let them know someone cares,” Dana said. She began by researching the best types of materials for elementary school students, writing scripts, and learning ventriloquism. Dana also recruited a team of expert volunteers, including adults, teens, business leaders and members of a regional youth tobacco prevention team. She has developed partnerships with Character Counts, the Boy Scouts, the American Lung Association and the American Heart Association. Since the beginning of the campaign, Dana has given 500 presentations, reaching more than 35,000 youth and adults.