Left to right: Maria Hernandez, Aura Suarez and Ceslie Covington

MIRAMAR, Fla. – More than 3,000 Broward students, representing various schools throughout the county, joined together for the Above the Influence (ATI) March and Rally at the City of Miramar Amphitheater on Saturday, Dec. 9.

A collaborative effort, created by United Way of Broward County Commission on Substance Abuse and Broward County Public Schools (BCPS), the Above the Influence March and Rally celebrated students making the right choices – resisting peer pressure, drugs and violence.

“United Way of Broward County is so proud to be a part of this event and initiative by providing resources that allow students to positively channel their talents and creativity through the Commission on Substance Abuse and Broward Youth Coalition’s programs,” said Kathleen Cannon,President/CEO of United Way of Broward County. “Student participation in the march has been linked to improve school environment and climate by 5 percent and aids in the reduction of underage drinking by 10 percent.”

The Rally began with a welcome address by Michaelle Pope, Executive Director for BCPS Student Support Initiatives. Other notable guests and speakers included: Robert Runcie, BCPS Superintendent; Kathleen Cannon, President/CEO of United Way of Broward County and City of Miramar Mayor Wayne M. Messam.

The Welcome Ceremony was followed by a lineup of performances including marching bands, cheerleaders and drill teams from BCPS elementary, middle and high schools.

In addition to the lead agencies for the event, collaborating partners included the City of Miramar, Florida Department of Health – S.W.A.T., Sheriff’s Foundation of Broward County, Florida Department of Juvenile Justice, Children’s Services Council of Broward County, SportsWorld and BCPS ESOL Department.