MADD brings message to Kimberley students

Kimberley/BC – MADD Kimberley Chapter is bringing a powerful message to Kimberley students today about the dangers of impaired driving with a powerful education program called The Pact.

The Pact is MADD Canada’s 2017-2018 School Assembly Program, which shows students the risks and consequences of driving while drunk and/or high.

Road crashes are the number one cause of death among teens and young adults, and alcohol and/or drugs are involved in more than half of those crashes. Every year, MADD Canada produces a new School Assembly Program to educate students in Grades 7 – 12 about the risks of impaired driving.

“MADD Canada’s School Assembly Program engages young people in a dialogue about the real risks of driving impaired by alcohol and/or drugs, and provides them with the information and tools they need to make safe and responsible choices,” said Katryna Sigurdson of MADD Kimberley/Cranbrook. “This year’s program encourages students to make a pact now – rather than after a tragedy strikes – to keep themselves and their friends safe from impaired driving.”

The Pact tells the story of Zoe, who is at a new school and struggling to fit in. After landing in detention for skipping class, she meets James, Charli, Nisha and Will. When they invite her to a party, Zoe is happy that she is finally making friends. At the party, Nisha has too much to drink. Charli is sober and can drive her home, but is worried about leaving Zoe behind. James offers to drive Zoe. Even though James has been smoking pot, Zoe convinces herself and her friends that all will be fine because he wasn`t drinking. When the car crashes, the whole group of friends is changed forever. Devastated by the tragedy but hoping to build something positive, the friends form a special pact.

MADD Kimberley Chapter volunteers fundraise throughout the year to raise the funds to offer this program to as many schools in our community. “We know how impactful this presentation is to our youth.” says Sigurdson. “Each year, MADD Canada develops a new presentation so we can go to a school each year with a new presentation and messaging.”

In addition to the fictional storyline in The Pact, the presentation also features emotional real-life accounts of victims of impaired driving. In fact, it is the victim testimonials that have the most lasting impact on students. This year’s program tells the stories of:

Carol Grimmond – Carol and her twin brother, Colin, were travelling to their mother’s home when an impaired driver, going the wrong way on the highway, struck them head-on. Colin suffered minor injuries. Carol was seriously injured and airlifted to hospital where she died.

Craig Watson – After a day at the lake, Craig and three high school friends piled into a van for the 5-minute drive to one of the friend’s cottages. All had been drinking and no one was wearing seat belts. The driver lost control of the vehicle. Craig was ejected from the passenger window and the van rolled over him, killing him.

Maia Vezina – Maia and her mother Pat were hit head-on by an impaired driver. Pat suffered broken bones and internal injuries, was on life support for a time and required numerous surgeries. Maia broke both femurs, both ankles and both arms, her left knee, pelvis, right wrist, left clavicle, a rib and left cheekbone. Both women have had very long recoveries and still suffer the effects of their injuries.

The PACT will be shown on February 14th at 2:00 pm at Selkirk Secondary School.

For more information, or to view a clip from The Pact, please visit http://madd.ca/pages/programs/youth-services/school-programs/the-pact/ .

Evidence shows that MADD Canada’s strategies to reach young people are working. In a 2015-2016 survey of students who saw that year’s School Assembly Program, titled 24 Hours: 80% of respondents said the program was effective in delivering its message about not driving while impaired; two-thirds of respondents said the presentation will be effective in changing behaviours regarding impaired driving; and 97% of respondents supported a similar presentation the following year.

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