On Tuesday, May 29th, the Edson Legion was transformed into a special crash scene for students at Holy Redeemer. This scene was all a part of the PARTY Program.
The PARTY Program stands for Prevent Alcohol Risk Related Trauma in Youth. It is designed to teach young people about the dangers of impaired and distracted driving and the long term consequences of these decisions.
“Each year we have had our students participate in this program in Edmonton,” says Health Teacher Dana Jumaga. “This is the first year they have gone to the program here in Edson and it was fantastic.”
The Program, which was organized by Leisa Belcourt from Alberta Health Services, sees the grade 9 students listen to various speakers from different organizations such as the Edson Fire Department, funeral home, RCMP, physiotherapists, and Victim Services. In addition, the students see what would happen in the event of a car collision – one that could have been prevented.
In the parking lot of the Legion, it shows two cars that were involved in a collision caused by impaired and distracted driving. Holy Redeemer Drama Department students Stephen Domshy, Tanya Mainville, and Ava Simmons acted as the victims of the collision with help from grade 12 student Samantha Darr-Desrosiers providing the makeup.
As the visiting grade 9 students watch, RCMP, EMS and the Fire Department arrive on the scene. Simmons is interviewed and arrested for drinking and driving. Mainville is already deceased so the Fire Department and funeral home wrap her up in a body bag to be placed in a hearse. Meanwhile, the Fire and EMS use the Jaws of Life to rescue Domshy. He is then strapped to a gurney and sent to the “hospital”.
The grade 9 students go back inside to the Legion where it has been transformed into the emergency room complete with real doctors and nurses. They begin frantically working on Domshy with his crying mother screaming alongside him. Soon, the doctor calls Domshy’s time of death. He is then sent to the funeral home and put in a casket for the students to see the dangerous consequences of their choices.
“It was so powerful,” says grade 9 student Tyler Ferguson. “It was really terrifying and it looked so real.” Other than the HRH actors, all the personnel were real life first responders.
Throughout the day, the students listen to horrific stories from First Responders and the mental toll it takes on them.
The Keynote Speaker was Amanda Oling whose personal story is so moving that it brings many students to tears. After this, each student signs a Contract for Life so they will not make these horrific decisions in the future.
This program is one that every students needs to participate in and listen to the message. A message that one day could save their life and save others’ lives as well.