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Longtime nonprofit figure to retire after 30 years

Another development that Ekman is largely responsible for will long outlast her tenure at the Prevention Council. Safe Spring is a DWI and underage drinking prevention program that was started in 1983 and has been a leader in the fight against DWI. It aims to arm young drivers and teenagers who are just starting their driving careers, with the attitude that they won't drive drunk and won't ride with someone who is under the influence. Ekman said that Safe Spring holds an annual student leadership conference and works with local schools to do education programs and hold alcohol free after prom parties, as well as news marketing to discourage parents from encouraging or allowing underage drinking at prom and graduation-type events.

The Prevention Council also addresses other forms of risky behavior like drugs, tobacco, violence and most recently internet safety. Ekman said that providing high quality services to the community is hard work, but necessary and rewarding.

"I work with an enormously talented staff and we try very hard to meet"as opposed to imposing solutions on people"we try very hard to meet people's needs, which is very demanding for staff members," said Ekman. "It would be much easier to be able to provide a canned solution to something, but to be able to come to people where they are and reach them where there is the greatest possibility of success, that is very challenging and demands a talented staff and we have it. I'm a piece of that but the Prevention Council is much larger than the work that I do."

It is this very drive, talent and desire to make a difference that Ekman said makes her confident the transition will be smooth after her departure. To further secure a seamless shift, a special search committee has been formed to guarantee that the best possible person is found to step into Ekman's shoes.

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