May 17, 2007

Every 15 Minutes

This week, a major drunk driving collision took place in front of East Nicolaus High School. One student died at the scene, a second died at the hospital, and several others were injured. Fortunately, it was a simulation, designed to encourage young people to not drink and drive.

The Every 15 Minutes gets its program from the fact that, at the time the program started, someone died as a result of drunk driving every fifteen minutes. This is the third time I've been involved in the program at East Nicolaus High School, but the first in which I was the primary adult leader at the overnight retreat. About 30 students went on the retreat; earlier in the day, they were pulled out of class--one student every 15 minutes--to represent those who have died. Once removed from class, they have no contact with their parents or friends until the next day. They talk about the experience, and write letters to their parents which begin, "Today, I died..."

It's a very powerful experience. And very hard to watch, since I know many of the "victim," having been in our rural community for over seven years now. But if it keeps one kid from getting behind the wheel drunk, I know it's worth it.

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