Keynote Speaker: Gary Cuccia
Topic: Teen Dating Violence Awareness & Prevention
Room: President's Hall
Keynote Description: In August of 2007, Demi Brae Cuccia was brutally stabbed to death by her former boyfriend just one day after celebrating her 16th birthday. Demi was an exceptionally beautiful young lady with a contagious smile, charming personality and a compassionate, spiritual soul. In response to her death, Demi’s father, Dr. Gary Cuccia, established the Demi Brae Cuccia Awareness Organization (DBCAO) in 2009. The Demi Brae Cuccia Awareness Organization is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization whose mission is to provide education and awareness to youth, parents, and communities on the real dangers associated with teen dating violence and abuse. By sharing Demi’s story, the DBCAO is committed to inspiring teens, parents, educators, and communities to build healthier relationships in the hopes that many young people and their families will not experience such tragedy. The flagship effort of the DBCAO is the organization’s Teen Dating Violence Awareness and Prevention (TDVAP) Program. The TDVAP program is an educational outreach effort to present teen dating violence awareness and prevention to middle and high school students across the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. The purpose of the TDVAP program is to heighten awareness of and reduce teen dating violence in order to cultivate safe dating practices and a healthier and safer community. During the one-hour assemblies, students learn the warning signs of dating violence/abuse, what can happen when dating behavior crosses the line from healthy to unhealthy, strategies to keep safe, and informational resources to access immediate help and support.
Dr. Gary Cuccia – Founder & Executive Director, Demi Brae Cuccia Awareness Organization Dr. Cuccia serves as the founder and Executive Director of the Demi Brae Cuccia Awareness Organization. Following the tragic murder of his 16 year old daughter, Demi Brae Cuccia, who was killed in August 2007 as a result of Teen Dating Violence/Abuse, Dr. Cuccia founded the Demi Brae Cuccia Awareness Organization (www.demibrae.com).
Dr. Cuccia’s passion and activism surrounding TDV has gained national recognition. In recognition of his efforts to advocate for teen dating violence prevention programs, through the Demi Brae Cuccia Awareness Organization, Dr. Cuccia received a Community Impact Award from the Ladies Hospital Aid Society on September 22, 2012, a Special Award of Distinction from the Women And Girls Foundation on December 1, 2012, and a Small Business Community Hero Honorable Mention from Direct Energy on June 28, 2013.
Dr. Cuccia believes that had he and Demi been educated about how to recognize the signs of Teen Dating Violence/Abuse then she would be alive today, and if her story and his advocacy saves one life, it is well worth the effort. That one life saved could have been Demi’s.
Demi’s death and the mission of the Demi Brae Cuccia Awareness Organization have gained national recognition. Dr. Cuccia has had the opportunity to share Demi’s story with Matt Lauer of the Today Show, Mike Huckabee of the Mike Huckabee show, Talk Radio with Laura Ingraham, and WQED who produced the documentary entitled Teen Dating Violence: The Murder of Demi Cuccia which won a Mid-Atlantic Emmy on September 24, 2011 along with a Golden Quill Award on May 14, 2012. In addition, Investigation Discovery- Scene of the Crime with Tony Harris aired an episode May 2017 Deadly Breakup which was dedicated to telling Demi’s story. Dr. Cuccia also received two personal invitations to Washington, D.C. – first on September 13, 2011 to Vice President Joe Biden’s residence to honor the 17th anniversary of the Violence Against Women Act, and again on February 28, 2013 for a program to mark Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month at the White House. During Dr. Cuccia’s visit to Washington. D.C. in February 2013, the Violence Against Women Act was reauthorized and signed into law.
Dr. Cuccia is a 1993 graduate of Life Chiropractic College and has been practicing as an independent chiropractor in New Alexandria, PA for the past 25 years.