As a member of the Coastal Bend Youth Alcohol Awareness Coalition, we are involved in a program called Shattered Dreams. The coalition is a community collaboration of several local agencies and individuals with a common goal – to educate our youth on the dangers of drinking and driving.
Shattered Dreams is conducted at a high school and consists of four components:
- A mock crash – a dramatic reenactment at the school of a crash caused by a drunk driver. Four student participants are involved in the crash scene. The “drunk driver” is given a field sobriety test on the scene, taken to jail and then to see a judge. The other victims of the crash “die.” One is pronounced “dead” at the scene, while two others are transported to local hospitals by ambulance, where they are treated in the emergency department and eventually “die”, and their parents are notified.
- The Living Dead – The Living Dead are student participants who are pulled out of class every fifteen minutes by the Grim Reaper. Mock death notifications and obituaries are presented to their classmates by uniformed police officers. The participants’ faces are painted white and they are not allowed to communicate with anyone the rest of the day. They represent the people who die in the United States from an alcohol-related car crash.
- Overnight retreat – After school, the students start the third part of the program – the overnight retreat. At the retreat the students participate in activities ranging from team building to a presentation on the dangers of drinking and driving. They also write letters to loved ones that say everything they wish they would have said when they were alive.
- Assembly – The next morning is the assembly, the last part of the program. Student participants and their parents share their experiences from the previous day with the rest of the students at the school. Other speakers at the assembly include school officials, community members and real victims of alcohol related crashes. Counseling is provided after the assembly, and throughout the two-day event.