Students Awarded for Overcoming Adverse Circumstances

SafeLaunch presented $1000 awards to four 2022 California high school graduates who demonstrated determination and resilience by overcoming challenges that no one should endure.

Top Row L-R:        Joe Brucia, Ron Cuff, Praxades Torres, Dr. Kevin Torosian, Sergio Mendoza, Janet Rowse

Bottom Row L-R:  Yael Sanchez (SafeLaunch recipient), Isaac Castillo, Cole Costa, Zoe Davis Jessee, Micaela Villa Sanchez

Not Pictured:         Michaela Garcia (SafeLaunch recipient), Kaylei Mason


On May 20 and June 3, SafeLaunch presented $1000 awards to four 2022 California high school graduates who demonstrated determination and resilience. The 2022 recipients are Yael Sanchez of Paso Robles, Michaela Garcia of Monterey, Victor Villa of El Centro and Jacob Olaguez of Highland. The presentations were made in collaboration with the California Association of Supervisors of Student Welfare and Attendance Scholarship program. 

SafeLaunch holds that youth who overcome substance use challenges, whether their own or a family member’s, deserve community recognition and financial support. SafeLaunch applauds the teachers and staff who support these young people and help them mitigate their potentially traumatic experiences. SafeLaunch Co-founder Janet Rowse states, “Youth have a right to grow up unhindered by substance use in their family and community, and they all need a caring adult to guide them. When these needs aren’t met, the responsibility lies with all of us.” Co-founder and retired Navy Commander Ron Cuff adds, “Each community is like an aircraft carrier where no pilot is safely launched without the ship’s entire crew focused on that goal. Society’s critical mission is to launch our youth into adulthood unencumbered by drugs and alcohol”.

Substance use disorder and addiction took the lives of 107,000 Americans last year by overdose alone. We will never be able to treat or incarcerate our way out of the disease of addiction, but we can prevent it. Because nine out of ten people with substance use disorder began using substances before age 18 addiction is known as a preventable pediatric onset disease.

By adopting the health standard that youth must not use any substance before brain maturation, (, we can reduce the all too familiar harms that alcohol and other drugs inflict upon individuals and their families, and the immeasurable costs our communities bear, including:  chronic homelessness, high crime, child abuse and gun violence.




Informing families, schools and communities that the only safe amount of adolescent exposure to alcohol and other drugs is zero. #onechoice