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.


Just Posted

Son of Second World War veteran returns to Norway to see site of rescue, repatriation

Six-man crew crash lands in Nazi occupied territory, only known instance of entire crew surviving

Hundreds mark Remembrance Day with ceremony at Saanich municipal hall

Revellers took in the ceremony, then went into the hall for coffee, hot chocolate, and cookies

Colwood house helps homeless veterans get back on their feet

Cockrell House has helped more than 100 people since it was established in 2009

Colwood veteran recalls harrowing experience during Second World War

The 95 year old one of 32 survivors after German sub sinks warship

Legions help keep the memories alive

Legions offer many services for the community

VIDEO: Pups in the pool: West Shore rec centre’s Dog Swim a success

West Shore Parks and Recreation goes to the dogs Sunday night

Greater Victoria 2019 holiday craft fair roundup

Get a jump on your holiday shopping

Sportsnet fires Don Cherry after negative comments about immigrants

Don Cherry had said immigrants don’t wear poppies like other Canadians do

Trudeau’s new cabinet: Gender parity because it’s 2019? Or due to competence?

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will soon appoint his new cabinet

Canada among three G20 countries least likely to hit emissions targets

It says Canada, South Korea and Australia are the farthest off

Conservatives’ Scheer wants Trudeau to open Parliament Nov. 25

That’s five days after Justin Trudeau is scheduled to swear in a new cabinet

Last remaining Centurion tank from the Korean War makes its journey ‘home’ to B.C.

Tank arrives in B.C. the day before Remembrance Day after a more than 4,500-kilometre transfer

Canadians mark Remembrance Day this morning

This year exactly 101 years to the day after the end of the First World War

Devils strike early, hang on for 2-1 win over Canucks

Vancouver now 0-8-3 in last 11 games versus New Jersey

Most Read