Saturday, March 21, 2009

Will Your Child Become an Alcohol Related Death Statistic? - Every 15 Minutes Someone Dies in an Alcohol Related Car Crash

Every 15 Minutes, a service targeted at High School students and their families, is an incredible program that illustrates, as realistically as a possible, the direct affect these deaths have on all the lives of the people connected to the victim. A National program, it started in the 90's with their mission being: help high school juniors and seniors realize the unnecessary tragedy that can result from an unsafe decision, or bad choice. Image from

The program is dramatic, realistic and involves the students,staff, parents and local authorities. If you have been fortunate enough to be a part of this experience, I encourage you to speak up and let other parents know the importance of advocating a program like this where their children attend school.

On April 30th-May1st my son will be participating in this program. As I began reading the paperwork, I thought wow, this is pretty cool. By the time I completed my last signature I was choking back my tears.
My son will be enacting the role of a fatal crash victim. I am not allowed to go to school to see what happens. I am not allowed to have contact with my child from the time he leaves for school that morning until the assembly the next day.
In addition to writing my son's obituary for the school paper, I will be contacted by a member of our police department and told - in the exact language of an official notification of death, that my son passed away in an alcohol related crash.
All of the "victims" involved during the exercise are pulled from class (every 15 minutes) by the grim reaper, they will then go to an undisclosed location, turn in their cell phones and participate in an overnight retreat, not allowed to contact anyone in the "outside world." This is done to represent to everyone involved: themselves, their family, friends and teachers, what it feels like to have someone in your life - suddenly ripped away from your world.
All that day in school, the "Walking Dead" will be students, with ashen, hollow faces and black t-shirts, who will walk the hallways and attend classes the entire day in silence, representing all those who have died in alcohol related accidents.
Is this program over the top? Is it going to far? Perhaps. But, to truly reach our youth who have grown up surrounded by over the top media, entertainment and drama, perhaps this is the BEST way to grab, and then keep their attention on the fact that EVERY 15 MINUTES someone dies in an alcohol related death.

Whether your child is the one that has never taken a drink, or the one with the adventurous streak who is willing to try anything once it doesn't matter. ANYONE can be a victim and ANYONE can make an impulsive decision, outside of their character, with life changing results.

If anything, check out the website, the many videos on YouTube from schools who have participated... listen and learn. Love your children enough to have a straight up heart to heart talk (not lecture) about alcohol and what it can and can't do.
From my perspective, I would much rather receive the police officer's message this way, and hopefully, forever avoid that dreaded phone call, door bell or tear filled message about anyone I love. Wouldn't you?

1 comment:

Barbara Saul said...

My boy (8) will be very interested in this - he was shocked and hugely upset about a report on TV last week about how many people die from alcohol related disease. He wants to take someone to court to have alcohol banned. We will set up a blog with his school so that his voice, and others, can be heard. If that touches just one person...

Thank you for sharing this - drastic but how can it fail to be effective. I would like to share it on my BMusing blog