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Review for Mothers Against Drunk Driving, Irving, TX, USA

Rating: 2 stars  

Because MADD exists, hundreds of thousands of people are alive who would have otherwise been killed in senseless wrecks. MADD victim advocates help thousands of people each year. As a former advocate, I am very grateful to have had the opportunity to assist victims of drunk driving and I am proud of the difference that I and other advocates have made in the lives of innocent victims.

I was often asked how I could endure the emotional strain of working with bereaved and injured crime victims. That was never a problem. The problem was (and from what I hear, still is) the dysfunction of the MADD organization: a tendency to ignore problems, a lack of accountability in middle and upper management, a disconnect between the national office and the real world and MADD’s odd desire to be liked instead of respected. It is the MADD organization itself that frustrated and exhausted me.

If MADD's victim services program is as high a priority as MADD regularly claims, why is the general public unaware of it? Why is there no national program to promote awareness of those services? Victim speakers are responsible for hundreds of thousands of dollars of revenue through MADD’s victim impact panel program. However, that money is used for non-victim programs.

Advocates are expected to encourage the victims they assist to volunteer within the organization. Why would an advocate who has educated, encouraged and protected a victim want to expose that victim to an organization who sees that person not as a wounded human being but as a way to raise money?

MADD’s CEO is paid (last time I looked) $234,000 annually but MADD refuses to pay the full IRS mileage rate to compensate employees who travel in their personal vehicles. Being cheap with its employees while the big boss is paid nearly a quarter of a million dollars makes MADD appear unconcerned and/or out of touch.

Sadly, the restructure of MADD in 2006, meant to make the organization more efficient, has drained the passion from this previously well respected grass roots organization and has given it an impersonal, corporate feel. MADD was built on passion, but people with passion don't belong there anymore.

The group of people who started MADD in 1980 showed a tremendous amount of courage in confronting a crime that everyone else wanted to ignore. I would hate to see MADD become irrelevant while it is still possible to drive drunk. MADD still has work to do and I hope those in charge will do some soul-searching, set aside personal agendas, have the courage to admit there is a problem and do whatever needs to be done to fix it. If they don't, they can't claim to support MADD’s mission.

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