The Gr. 10 students from Valemount Secondary School visited the Prince George hospital to learn about the dangers of drunk driving, drug use and the injuries that can result.

This program is called the P.A.R.T.Y. Program, which stands for Prevent Alcohol and Risk-Related Trauma in Youth. The program is a “scare you straight” type of education.

The program started with us listening to the experiences of a Prince George police officer. His stories ranged from car wrecks to telling families that their children had been killed in a drunk driving accident. Some were quite descriptive and graphic, and all were tragic. He told us how many wrecks he had seen which didn’t have to be fatal. The only reason people had died was because the passengers in the vehicle hadn’t been wearing their seatbelts.

With many teary eyed students and some even looking sick, we proceeded to the next part of the program. One of the doctors that created the P.A.R.T.Y. Program presented a slide show of some of the many injuries he had seen in the trauma ward. The photos got progressively more graphic and everyone in the room was feeling lightheaded.

Both these presentations made their point, and they made them hard. Safety should be the number one priority for anyone, whether they’re driving down the highway, or at a party with friends.

After learning about some of the horrible injuries that came into the trauma room, we got a small taste about some of the long term effects of making a bad choice. The program coordinators didn’t just tell us how a disability felt, they made us experience it. Everyone was given a different item. Blindfolds, oven mitts, neck braces and bibs were handed out to the participants. Each of the items represented a different disability, from being blind to being quadriplegic. We were told that we needed to wear these while eating our lunch. Each different disability produced different challenges for eating. It really made us realize how simple tasks like opening a plastic bag can become a struggle with a physical disability.

The last part of the program was a presentation from people who had been affected by drug use and alcohol. They were permanently disabled because of bad decisions. Most were in wheelchairs but all had one similar characteristic – remorse. They all wished that they hadn’t made the mistakes they did, whether it had been taking heroin or getting on an ATV drunk. Some were positive about their situation, but we could tell that on the inside, they were suffering more than they let on.

Afterwards some students felt scared, others enlightened, but hopefully the experience in itself was enough to make anyone think twice about drunk driving or showing off to friends while drunk or high. Those ideas might just be enough one day to save a life. For these reasons, the P.A.R.T.Y. program was a fantastic experience. I highly recommend the program and I hope it continues to educate kids for years to come.

By: John Kenkel
student reporter