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Nominate your FOCUS Facilitator as a “Difference Maker!”

The Facilitator chosen as the “Difference Maker” will receive $1,000 cash to be used however they choose. The “Difference Maker” will be chosen based on their school’s activities, their level of involvement with FOCUS, and the creation of successful prevention activities and events.

Eligibility Requirements:

  • The FOCUS Facilitator must be nominated using the Difference Maker form below

  • The winner must be a facilitator at a registered FOCUS school (register your school here)

  • The deadline to nominate your Facilitator as the 2025 Difference Maker is March 28, 2025 at 5:00 pm.

Judging Criteria:

  • The school’s FOCUS activities that were led by the Facilitator.

  • The Facilitator's level of involvement with FOCUS throughout the year.

  • The Facilitator has demonstrated dedication and commitment to creating successful prevention activities and events.

Winner Will Receive:

The selected Difference Maker will receive $1,000 cash to be used however they choose.

2024 "Difference Maker" Recipient: Dana DePew


FOCUS is pleased to announce Dana DePew, Hewitt Trussville High School, as the winner of the 2024 Difference Maker Award which recognizes the most outstanding educator facilitating FOCUS in Alabama! The Difference Maker Award was created to honor those whose passion, enthusiasm, and leadership have resulted in real successes in the prevention of adolescent risk behaviors in their school and community. As the winner of this award, Mrs. DePew received $1,000 cash and a trophy.


Mrs. DePew is the School Nurse at Hewitt-Trussville High School and has been a school nurse for 18 years. She has a master’s degree in nursing from UAB with a Community Health Clinical Nurse Specialist concentration.


Hewitt-Trussville High School (HTHS) FOCUS Club is an extracurricular club with 87 members, and they try to do at least four activities per year. This year the HTHS FOCUS Club has participated in the following activities: they were the host school for the 2023 FOCUS Rally. They held a weeklong awareness campaign about how to recognize and be a friend to someone who may be needing mental health help during Mental Health Awareness Week – Seize the Awkward Campaign. They also held an Out of the Darkness Suicide Prevention Fundraiser Walk, they hosted Henry the Hand at Paine Elementary, and they hosted a Wellness Fair at their school.


An individual nominating Mrs. DePew stated, “Mrs. DePew has impacted my life far beyond just FOCUS Club. Through the club we made a personal connection, and she has guided me and given me advice that I will carry for the rest of my life. She is hands down one of the biggest “difference makers” that has been placed in my life.”


Another individual nominating Mrs. DePew stated, “As a FOCUS Facilitator, Ms. Dana DePew consistently goes above and beyond to ensure the success and well-being of our students. Her approachable demeanor and genuine concern for their growth and development create an environment where students feel supported and empowered to reach their full potential. Whether it's through mentorship, advocacy, or simply lending a listening ear, Dana's impact on students is profound and far-reaching.”


Mrs. DePew became involved with FOCUS at the 2008 FOCUS Rally and has been involved ever since! She has been married to Brian DePew for 38 years, they have 6 children and 2 grandsons. She lives in Trussville and her hobby is baking.


We are honored to recognize Dana DePew for her outstanding leadership! Congratulations and thank you to Mrs. DePew for her work in reducing the incidences of adolescent risk behaviors and truly Making a Difference in the lives of students!     
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