Program teaches students to make smart decisions

Program teaches students to make smart decisions

Grade 10 students follow crash victim’s path

Lying under the bright lights of the pediatric trauma room at Victoria General Hospital, Jamie is covered in blood.

His head and arms are bandaged, he has fractured ribs, and he’s wearing a neck brace. His left leg has been carefully splinted, but a piece of bone protrudes from his skin. Bloody gauze and gloves litter the clean white floor.

The 17-year-old had a few drinks and smoked some pot at a party, and offered to give his friend a ride home. Driving along Sooke Road, Jamie lost control and hit the median, causing the car to flip. Another driver saw the crash and called 911.

Now he’s unconscious and a ventilator is helping him breathe. His friend died in the crash.

This all too real scenario is part of Island Health’s Prevent Alcohol and Risk Related Trauma in Youth (PARTY) program.

Offered to Grade 10 students at public and prviate high schools across Greater Victoria, including Victoria and Esquimalt high schools, the program educates students about what can happen as a result of impaired or distracted driving, speeding, drug and alcohol use, or not wearing a seat belt or bike helmet.

“We don’t tell them (students) never drink, never do drugs, never drive fast. It’s just think about it before you do it. Have a ride home, wear your seat belt,” said Julie Malone, administrative assistant, trauma services with Island Health.

“Someone just standing up and talking to them, I don’t think (the message) would really get through. It’s much more effective to show them rather than just tell them.”

On average, 32 youth between the ages of 16 to 21 are killed in crashes every year in B.C., four of whom lose their lives on Vancouver Island.

During graduation in April, May and June, an average of six youth die in B.C. Statistics show 24 per cent of speeding drivers, 16 per cent of impaired drivers and 15 per cent of distracted drivers were between the ages of 16 and 21.

As part of the reality-based injury prevention program, students follow a victim’s path from the crash scene to the morgue. Moving through the handful of stations, presentations come from emergency room physicians, B.C. Ambulance paramedics, RCMP or police, many of whom share personal stories of real crash scenes. Brain injury surviviors also tell their stories.

Ann Doll, trauma coordinator and program volunteer, said it isn’t about scaring students, but teaching them to make smart decisions.

She believes the program has made a difference. Two girls, who had recently participated in the program, were at a party when a friend who had been drinking wanted to drive home. The girls insisted he not get behind the wheel and instead called his parents to pick him up.

“The message is it’s all about choice,” Doll said. “We make choices every day of our life … what you can’t determine is the outcome of your choices. So if you choose to drink and drive or drive under the influence of drugs, you may get into a crash and you won’t be able to determine the outcome.”

Lena Solbakken, a Grade 11 Spectrum High student, said it made her a bit uneasy to see Jamie bandaged in the ER, but it helped drive home the message.

Roughly 1,700 students in Greater Victoria go through the program annually. PARTY has been offered in Victoria since 2003, and is part of an international program which started in Toronto in 1986 and has since expanded to Australia, Brazil, Japan and the U.S.


Program teaches students to make smart decisions

Just Posted

Mural artist Paul Archer will soon begin work on a piece on the rear of a building at 100 Burnside Road West. (Gorge Tillicum Community Association)
Back of Burnside building in Saanich to feature mural of hope and positivity

Artist Paul Archer says subject will inspire memories, depict children’s future, sunshine, flowers

Victoria Truth Centre and Long-term Inmates Now in the Community (L.I.N.C.) Society are hoping to replicate in Langford the format used on Emma’s Farm in Mission, pictured here. (Patrick Penner/Black Press Media)
Victoria Truth Centre hopes to grow transformative justice in Langford

Purchase proposal would see offenders, survivors and families work on organic vegetable farm

Tyson Muzzillo, regional manager of BC Cannabis Store, welcomes shoppers to their Uptown location, opening on June 16. (Megan Atkins-Baker/News Staff)
Government-run cannabis store opening at Saanich’s Uptown

BC Cannabis Store the first for government in Greater Victoria, 27th in province

Law Enforcement Torch Run in support of Special Olympics B.C. kicks off with a run at Swan Lake on June 6. The virtual fundraiser runs until June 20. (Saanich Police/Twitter)
Torch run seeks to scorch previous fundraiser, targets $75,000 for Special Olympics

Global movement shoots for 40,000 km in honour of the 40th anniversary

West Shore RCMP K9 Halla. (Black Press Media file photo)
Sound of RCMP dog enough to stop suspects in Oak Bay

West Shore RCMP K9 unit called in, didn’t get to chase

People watch a car burn during a riot following game 7 of the NHL Stanley Cup final in downtown Vancouver, B.C., in this June 15, 2011 photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Geoff Howe
10 years ago: Where were you during the 2011 Vancouver Stanley Cup Riots?

Smashed-in storefronts, looting, garbage can fires and overturned cars some of the damage remembered today

(Black Press Media file)
Dirty money: Canadian currency the most germ-filled in the world, survey suggests

Canadian plastic currency was found to contain 209 bacterial cultures

(pixabay file shot)
B.C. ombudsperson labels youth confinement in jail ‘unsafe,’ calls for changes

Review states a maximum of 22 hours for youth, aged 12 from to 17, to be placed in solitary

Eleonore Alamillo-Laberge, 6, reads a book in Ottawa on Monday, June 12, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Parents will need to fight ‘COVID learning slump’ over summer: B.C. literacy experts

Parents who play an active role in educating their children this summer can reverse the slump by nearly 80%, says Janet Mort

The border crossing on Highway 11 in Abbotsford heading south (file)
Western premiers call for clarity, timelines on international travel, reopening rules

Trudeau has called Thursday meeting, premiers say they expect to leave that meeting with a plan

The B.C. government’s vaccine booking website is busy processing second-dose appointments, with more than 76 per cent of adults having received a first dose. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C.’s COVID-19 infections, hospitalizations stable for Tuesday

108 new confirmed cases, 139 in hospital, 39 in intensive care

Cowichan Tribes man Adrian Sylvester is worried that he was targetted by a trailer hitch thrown from a vehicle. (Facebook photo)
Cowichan Tribes man worried he was target of trailer hitch

Adrian Sylvester says no one has reported a missing hitch after one nearly hit him

Graeme Roberts, who was mayor of Nanaimo from 1984-86, died this month at age 89. (Photo courtesy Nanaimo Community Archives)
City of Nanaimo flags at half-mast as former mayor Graeme Roberts dies at 89

‘Giant-killer’ beat out Frank Ney in mayoral election in 1984

CVSAR search the Puntledge River following a report of an abandoned kayak. Photo, CVSAR Facebook page
Comox Valley Search and Rescue spends four hours searching for no one

Overturned kayak a reminder for public to contact officials if they have to abandon a watercraft

Most Read