The Young Marines unveil a new and expanded Drug Demand Reduction Program: ‘Closing the Gate on Drugs’
Monday, July 14, 2014
The Young Marines youth organization took its drug demand reduction efforts to the next level by launching a new program titled, “Closing the Gate on Drugs.” The program focuses on the drugs that our youth are exposed to early and most often - the ga
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The DEA and Young Marines present Enrique ‘Kiki’ Camarena Awards to six units
Monday, June 16, 2014
The DEA and Young Marines announce Enrique "Kiki" Camarena Award winners. The award honors six units, one award per division, for drug demand reduction efforts through community education and peer-to-peer role modeling.
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Blake DeWeese named ‘National Young Marine of the Year’
Friday, June 13, 2014
The Young Marines youth organization announced the 2014 - 2015 “National Young Marine of the Year” – YM SgtMaj Blake W. DeWeese, 18, of Beaverton, OR. As National Young Marine of the Year, DeWeese will travel throughout the country representing the Y
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Young Marines grateful for a grant from American Legion Child Welfare Foundation
Wednesday, April 30, 2014
The American Legion Child Welfare Foundation has provided a $90,000 grant to the Young Marines youth organization for the purpose of creating printed materials to use in its campaigns to reduce the demand for drugs through education.
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The Young Marines News Network wins second Telly Award
Monday, April 28, 2014
The 35th annual Telly Awards have been announced, and a Nov., 2013, broadcast of the Young Marines News Network won a 2014 bronze Telly in the online video category.
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Honorary Young Marine Zach Veach, teen race car driver, wins Indy Lights
Tuesday, April 08, 2014
The Young Marines youth organization salutes teen race car driver Zach Veach, 19, on his first place win in the season opener of the Indy Lights race held Sunday, March 30, in St. Petersburg, FL. He won by leading every lap of the race.
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Ten Young Marines Return From a Very Special ‘Reunion of Honor’ on Guam and Iwo Jima
Tuesday, March 11, 2014
Young Marines traveled to Guam and Iwo Jima for the annual “Reunion of Honor.” Each year, American and Japanese veterans and their families come together for remembrances of their fallen brothers and to recall the fierce battles.
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Twenty Young Marines to participate in United Nations Conference
Thursday, March 06, 2014
Twenty youth members of the Young Marines youth organization are traveling from across the country to New York City on March 8 – 12, 2014, to participate in a conference held by the United Nations.
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Young Marines names six Division Young Marines of the Year
Tuesday, January 28, 2014
The Young Marines youth organization has named six division winners in its most prestigious award - the “Division Young Marines of the Year.”
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ABC Features the Young Marines Performing a Wreath Laying Ceremony at Pearl Harbor
Sunday, December 08, 2013
Friday, Dec. 6, youth members of the Young Marines performed a wreath laying ceremony at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific, Honolulu, HI, in memory of the brave men and women who are interred there.
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Young Marines From Across the Nation Travel to Hawaii for 72nd Anniversary of Pearl Harbor Attack
Monday, December 02, 2013
Youth members of the Young Marines will travel to Hawaii to participate in the 72nd anniversary Pearl Harbor Day Commemoration. The Young Marines will lead the Pearl Harbor Memorial Parade in Honolulu and perform a wreath laying ceremony at the Natio
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Gary Weisbaum named Chief Marketing Officer of the Young Marines youth organization
Monday, November 18, 2013
Gary Weisbaum accepted a position as the Chief Marketing Officer for the Young Marines. Weisbaum will coordinate the Young Marines brand and marketing programs across the United States.
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Two Young Marines awarded Jimmie Trimble Scholarships at American Veterans Center Honors Awards Banquet
Thursday, November 14, 2013
YM MGySgt Mary Ann Wessell of Cleveland, OH, and YM MSgt Nathan Baker of Atlanta, GA, are the recipients of the Young Marines’ Jimmie Trimble Scholarship Awards which were presented at a black tie event on Saturday, Nov. 9, hosted by the American Vet
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For the Young Marines, Veterans’ Appreciation Week is all year long
Friday, November 01, 2013
Members of the Young Marines celebrate America’s veterans all year long, reaching more than 30,000 men and women who have served in the armed forces. The members of the Young Marines will participate in Veterans’ Appreciation Week - Nov. 4 - 11, 2013
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Young Marines participate in Red Ribbon Week - Oct. 23 – 31, 2013
Tuesday, October 22, 2013
Young Marines units from all over the country are participating in projects to support Red Ribbon Week – Oct. 23 – 31, 2013, which is the oldest and largest drug prevention program in the nation.
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Young Marines Symposium: A hatching ground for good ideas
Thursday, October 10, 2013
Advanced or senior members of the Young Marines will be traveling to Arlington, VA, for the annual national Young Marines Symposium held Thursday to Monday, Oct. 10–14, 2013.
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‘Semper Fidelis’ among tween and teen sisters
Thursday, October 03, 2013
Some sisters share doll collections. Some share a passion for ballet. The four Base sisters from Seal Beach, CA, can holler, "Oorah," and mean it. The sisters, ranging in age from 9 to 15 have found a steel-strong bond within the Young Marines.
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Young Marines Meet Living History During Navajo Code Talkers Day
Thursday, August 22, 2013
More than 100 members of the Young Marines traveled to AZ to be part of Navajo Code Talkers Day. The Young Marines not only met code talkers, they participated for three days acting as escorts for the WWII veterans.
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The Young Marines unveil a new and expanded Drug Demand Reduction Program: ‘Closing the Gate on Drugs’
Monday, July 14, 2014

Drug Demand ReductionThe Young Marines youth organization took its drug demand reduction efforts to the next level by launching a new program titled, “Closing the Gate on Drugs.” The unveiling of the program took place at the annual Adult Leader’s Conference held June 4-7 in Washington D.C.

The American Legion Child Welfare Foundation provided $90,000 in grant monies for the purpose of creating printed materials to use in producing and promoting an even more robust Young Marines Drug Demand Reduction effort. This resulted in the new slogan: “Closing the Gate on Drugs.” The word “Gate” links to what’s called “gateway drugs” which are tobacco, marijuana, prescription medication, inhalants and alcohol.

“The grant is the largest ever given by the Child Welfare Foundation,” said Mike Kessler, national executive director and CEO of the Young Marines. “Needless to say, we’re humbled by the foundation’s trust and confidence in us to be effective in our drug demand reduction efforts.”

Each unit is receiving the newly branded kit that includes stickers, tri-fold flyers, pledge forms, slap bracelets, activity books, key chains with a USB drive of the program and feedback forms. These printed materials are being distributed not only to the 300 Young Marines units but to schools and youth organizations in the communities as a part of the outreach program.

“It is essential the drug demand reduction message reach as many young people as possible, and 11,000 Young Marines are working tirelessly to that end,” Kessler said.

The curriculum used is Project ALERT, a school-based, substance abuse prevention program for grades seven and eight.

“Instead of reinventing the wheel with a new education program, we use Project ALERT, an evidenced-based program which has been developed by RAND, the nation’s leading think tank on drug policy,” said Joe Lusignan, deputy director, West Coast Operations and drug demand reduction resource officer with the Young Marines. “When we presented our initiative to the Drug Enforcement Administration, who was already supportive of what we had been doing, they were really excited by the direction we are headed with ‘Closing the Gate on Drugs.’ ”

According to Lusignan, the program is important because it provides standardization throughout the Young Marines program.

“We are reaching all of our Young Marines with the same education, with the same teaching formats, and the same leadership opportunities,” he said. “In addition, the program focuses on the drugs that our youth are exposed to early and most often.”

A 22-year career in law enforcement taught Lusignan that abusers don't leap into the harder drugs that everyone is so concerned about. The insidious infection of drug abuse starts with the gateway drugs. If youth can be stopped from experimenting with the gateway drugs, it stands to reason they won’t progress to the drugs that garner all the concern.

“I'm inspired by the enthusiasm of the Young Marines who have picked up the gauntlet,” Lusignan said. “They’ve become certified instructors and are now leading the charge against the onslaught of drug abuse by educating others, not only in their units, but also within their communities. Our Young Marines are not only picking up the ball but are carrying it forward and bringing their peers with them.

The program consists of lessons that help kids learn and practice new skills and strategies for resisting drugs. In addition, the lessons build positive expectations about life without drugs.

“This program removes the old visual of the adult standing in front of the class lecturing the audience that ‘drugs are bad,’” Lusignan said. “This program puts the power into the hands of our youth, and it gives them not only the education about the drugs themselves but also the tools to resist the temptations they evoke.”

“With our new ‘Closing the Gate on Drugs’ program, we consider ourselves the premier drug demand reduction youth organization with national scope and impact,” Kessler said.

The Young Marines is a national non-profit 501c(3) youth education and service program for boys and girls, age eight through the completion of high school. The Young Marines promotes the mental, moral and physical development of its members. The program focuses on teaching the values of leadership, teamwork and self-discipline so its members can live and promote a healthy, drug-free lifestyle.\

Since the Young Marines' humble beginnings in 1959 with one unit and a handful of boys, the organization has grown to over 300 units with 11,000 youth and 3,000 adult volunteers in 46 states, the District of Columbia, Japan and with affiliates in a host of other countries to include Germany, Thailand and Hungary.

For more information, visit the official website at


Media Contact: Andy Richardson
Ginny Richardson Public Relations
630-789-8899 or