Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Remembering Rebeka Verea: 500 Students Inspired to a Life of Character

On Wednesday, April 24, 2013, I returned to the Rebeka Verea Foundation's Annual Symposium in Cliffside Park, New Jersey. I delivered my signature student presentation titled Be a Person of Character: Change the World to over 500 students from high schools throughout Bergen and Hudson counties.

The event takes place each year due to the inspiring goodness of Rebeka's parents and many excellent speakers to encourage youth to live a life of character, make the right decisions and to say yes to life. This years event was especially meaningful since it took place on Rebeka's birthday.

Details on Rebeka's life and the remarkable dedication to youth by her parents honoring her memory are documented in my April 1, 2009 blog:

Be a Person of Character: Change the World

To bring new consciousness to families and to educate teens about the dangers of driving irresponsibly or being the passenger in the hands of an irresponsible driver.
Objective of the
Rebeka Verea Foundation

On Tuesday, March 31, 2009, thanks to the leadership of Dr. Jorge L. Verea and his wife Lourdes, over 400 high school students from Bergen and Hudson Counties in New Jersey attended the 4th Annual Rebeka Verea Foundation Symposium in Cliffside Park.

On the night of June 20, 2005, 18 year-old Rebeka Verea was killed in a car accident just a few miles from her home. Earlier that day, she had graduated from Cliffside Park High School.

Dr. and Mrs. Verea knew they had to turn their grief into action. They started the Rebeka Verea Foundation to honor their daughter's life because "the death of our children should not be in vain."

Speakers for today's symposium were Dr. Jorge L. Verea, Dr. John J. Locurto and Melian Gonzalez, RN of the Trauma and Injury Center at Hackensack University Medical Center; Violet Marrero of the New Jersey Division of Highway Traffic Safety; Detective Arnold Anderson of the Essex County Prosecutor's Office; Charles Fleisher of the Kessler Foundation; and Chief Donald Keane and Captain Anthony Frato of the Cliffside Park Police Department.

As an invited speaker, I delivered a presentation titled Be a Person of Character: Change the World which encouraged students to respond to a culture of violence, crisis of character and under the influence society with character. These students were reminded that

"No matter how young or old, no matter how rich or poor, no matter how famous or ordinary, each of us has the power to change the world by doing what is right."

High Schools Represented

  • Academies at Englewood High School
  • Bergen County Academies
  • Bergenfield High School
  • Bergen County Technical High School, Paramus
  • Cliffside Park High School
  • Dwight Morrow High School
  • Emerson High School (Emerson, NJ)
  • Emerson High School (Union City, NJ)
  • Fort Lee High School
  • Memorial High School
  • North Bergen High School
  • Pascack Hills High School
  • Ridgefield Memorial High School
  • Ridgefield Park High School
  • River Vale High School
  • Teaneck High School
  • Union City High School

The Vereas are to be commended for their zeal and commitment to communicating the dangers of irresponsible driving so that the death of their daughter Rebeka may not be in vain.


Rebeka Verea Foundation Click here to visit site
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention/Impaired Driving Click here to visit site
Driving Under the Influence of Alcohol or Illegal Drugs Click here to visit site
America's Youth: A Generation of Hope Click here to visit site

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