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Driving dangers hit home with teens

By: Laura Newell Telegraph Staff Writer
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The dangers of driving involve more than alcohol. The northern California Prevent Alcohol and Risk Related Trauma in Youth (P.A.R.T.Y.) program will take place from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Friday, April 9, to teach students the reality of trauma situations. A second program will take place from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Friday, May 7. “This is a hands on, high impact reality-based trauma program,” said Vicky Fitzgerald, program director. The four-hour program takes place at Folsom Mercy Hospital and includes more than 60 students in ninth and tenth grades. Students will observe the path of an injury survivor from pre-hospital care through rehabilitation. “It is made to actually show the kids what happens and it is not pretty,” Fitzgerald said. Emergency room nurses, according to the P.A.R.T.Y. brochure, developed P.A.R.T.Y. over 20 years ago at Ontario’s Sunnybrook and Women’s Hospital. The purpose of the program works to prevent the untimely deaths of youth due to risk-related behavior and motor vehicle crashes. Two years ago, Fitzgerald said she brought the program locally and has been running it through schools including Oak Ridge High School and Folsom High School since September. Students are broken into groups of 15 and taught what actually occurs in the emergency room after trauma injuries from accidents including drowsy driving or driving under the influence, Fitzgerald said. “They are apart of the entire thing,” she said. “The kids are living it.” The program also includes a presentation by brain injury survivors to show what life is like with injuries. “We reach these students before they drive and have the chance to drive,” Fitzgerald said. “We have a huge impact.” She said that parents should also plan to attend the program to better inform them on preventing trauma. “We definitely encourage adults to come out and watch,” she said. “We really want to get parents involved because they need to become informed on what can happen.” For more information on the program and to register for $100 per person, per program, call 792-4890.