Members of the Whitecourt Fire Department, EMS, RCMP and Victim Services were all on hand April 18th to teach Grade 9 students about making smart choices when getting behind the wheel, as part of the annual P.A.R.T.Y Program.
Prevent Alcohol and Risk-Related Trauma in Youth (P.A.R.T.Y) is a national program run each April, and it aims at teaching youth to make smart choices. It also shows them the consequences that can come from making poor choices, such as impaired or distracted driving, and the effects those consequences have on everyone they come in contact with.
In the morning, Grade 9 students from Hilltop and St. Joesph High Schools watched an accident recreation of an actual 9-1-1 call using all levels of emergency response and listened to Victim Services talk about the aftermath of a tragedy and the effects it has on loved ones. In the afternoon, students then participated in workshops to learn more about emergency services and rehabilitation.
Tina Prodaniuk with Whitecourt Victim Services and Crime Prevention on the day’s events.
The P.A.R.T.Y Program started 20 years ago in Toronto and has spread across the country. Whitecourt’s program is put on annually by Alberta Health Services.
The program targets Grade 9 students because at 14 and 15 years of age they have yet to get their driver’s licence and venture out on their own. The program aims at instilling good decision-making skills in them, like wearing a seatbelt, not speeding, and not driving distracted or impaired, before they are able to hit the road and drive themselves.
Prodaniuk says the collaborative effort between the high schools, emergency services, AHS, and Victim Services does make a difference, and they will continue to run the program each year.