Two Public Health Nurses from the Sudbury & District Health Unit were in the Hanmer Valley Shopping Centre on April 22, 2006, spreading a very important message to young people who may be attending graduation parties and Prom Night celebrations this spring.

Several valuable pamphlets and brochures were distributed to youth and parents who dropped by the booth. As well, free photos were provided to people who choose to have their photo taken on the "Turkey Board".

The Grad Turkey poster was designed by students from Ecole Secondaire Hanmer.

Christine Prokulevich, on the left, and Debbie Digby drove home the message to hundreds of visitors. Besides the fact that there are many financial consequences to drinking and driving after attending a grad party, the consequences of loss of life or permanent disability are even greater.

Parents are urged to make sure that their children understand that they will come and pick them up with no questions asked if they have been drinking at a party.

The following links are recommended reading for parents and teenagers:

bulletTips for Students
bulletTips for Parents
bulletThe consequences of Impaired Driving Charges


by Robert Kirwan
Valley East Today

A few years ago I published a web site called Student Page. It was designed as a resource for secondary school students. One day I received the following letter that I would like to share with you today.

I have waited all year for Fred to ask me out and now he wants me to go with him to a year-end party with his graduating class. My parents say that since he is 19 years old and I am only 16, they won’t let me go. They say there will be drinking and it will be too dangerous. I just have to go or I will be laughed at by everyone in the school. My girlfriend and I have worked out a plan. I am going to tell my parents that I am spending the night at her house and sneak out to the party with Fred. My parents will never find out, but I still feel a bit guilty. What should I do? Sherry (not her real name).

My answer to Sherry, and any other young person, male or female, who feels that they are under any real or imagined pressure to drink or take drugs to have fun, was as follows:

Dear Sherry:

Your parents love you a lot. Don’t ever doubt that for a minute. On the other hand, you are a mature young girl and you seem to be a responsible, reasonable person.

You have to wonder why it has taken Fred so long to ask you out. And why would he ask you out to a party where there will certainly be drinking and perhaps even some drugs available? Before I give you my advice, I want to share a little story with you about another young girl who we will call Jenny. She was facing a similar dilemma.

Jenny was happy about the end of the school year. It had turned out to be a really great year. She and her family had moved to a nice neighbourhood the previous summer and she had made a lot of new friends. As she unloaded her books on the last day of school, she could hardly hold back her excitement as she looked forward to her date that night.

Finally, after a whole year, the star of the school hockey team had asked her out on a date, but since her parents felt she was too young to date, she had to tell them a little lie. Instead of telling them about her date, she had asked them if she could spend the night with her girlfriends at a sleep-over. Her parents reluctantly agreed.

As she got ready for her big date she felt kind of guilty for lying to her parents, but thought what’s the big deal anyway about a pizza, a party and a moonlight ride?

The party was great, and everything was going super until her date, Jeff, who was already half drunk, began smoking some "joints" that a friend had brought over. He then convinced her to go for a "little ride" with him to "Look Out Point". Jenny couldn’t refuse and risk losing face in front of the crowd, so she went along. After they arrived at the ‘Point’, Jeff began to get a little too fresh and Jenny shoved him away, demanding to be taken home. She thought, "Perhaps my parents were right...maybe I am too young. How stupid am I?

Angrily, Jeff cranked up the engine and floored the gas. In seconds they were going too fast. Jenny begged him to slow down, but he just went faster as they neared town. Then all of a sudden, she saw a big flash and knew they were going to crash.

She felt someone move her from the twisted wreck and heard, "Call an ambulance! These kids are in trouble."

She heard a few more voices and realized that two cars were involved. She wondered if Jeff was alive.

When she woke in the hospital she was told that she’d been involved in a pretty bad accident.

The voices echoed inside her head when they told her that Jeff was dead.

They said, "Jenny, we’ve done all we can do, but it looks as if we’ll lose you too."

"But the people in the other car?" Jenny cried.

"We’re sorry, Jenny, but they also died."

Jenny prayed. "God, forgive me for what I’ve done. I only wanted to have one night of fun. Tell those people’s family I am so sorry. I only wish I could bring their families back to them."

"Tell Mom and Dad I lied, and that it’s my fault so many people have died," Jenny begged the nurse. "Oh, please, won’t you tell them that for me?"

The nurse just stood motionless, looking sadly at Jenny, not saying a word. She took Jenny’s hand with tears in her eyes and a few moments later, Jenny died.

A man asked the nurse, "Why didn’t you agree to give that girl her last request?"

She looked at the man with sad eyes and said, "Because the people in the other car were her Mom and Dad."

Night-after-night, teenagers all around Canada and the United States are facing tough decisions about dating, drinking, drugs, and peer pressure. Most of the time they escape without any serious consequences.

In your case, Sherry, I would advise you to go straight to your parents, give them a big hug and thank them for caring. There will be plenty of other "Fred’s" in your life. There will also be plenty of other parties to go to. Invite your girlfriend over to your house for the sleep-over, and ask your parents to join the two of you to watch a movie or play some cards. Make this a special night for your parents too, and always remember that some decisions in life can change your direction for ever. This may be one of them.

If you are a parent of a young person who may be facing the same kind of pressure that Sherry and Jenny faced in this story, please give them a copy of this editorial before it is too late.


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