By Tim Kalinowski
Irvine School’s Grade 9 class had the opportunity to take part in the P.A.R.T.Y (Prevent Alcohol and Risk-Related Trauma in Youth) program at Medicine Hat Regional Hospital last Thursday. Throughout the day they learned about common dangers and risky behaviours that can result in death or serious traumatic injury for the rest of their lives such as driving and texting, too much speed or alcohol or substance abuse while behind the wheel.
Amourin Morisseau, of Brain Injury Relearning Services, was one of the guest speakers Irvine students had a change to listen to. She sought to drive home the message the worst case scenario for an accident isn’t always death, but rather a lifetime of disability resulting from serious brain injuries.
“A lot of things we talk about kids have heard, but they don’t understand what it means for their lives at this time. To get them at this age, before they start driving, before they really start making risky decisions, I think is the most crucial time. This (P.A.R.T.Y) program is huge for getting our message out. I did this program when I was in Grade 9 and it still sits with me,” said Morisseau after her presentation concluded.
She reiterated to students, some of whom had already experienced concussions from falls or rough sport, that a brain injury may be invisible, but it is no less debilitating for all that.
“Awareness when it comes to brain injuries is so important. A lot of the kids in there have had concussions and don’t necessarily know that means they have had a brain injury and their memory could be affected or their emotions can be affected because of that. And it can continue to affect them later on in their lives. I am hoping they take home the Smart Risk messaging which is still live your life, do what you want to do, but manage your risks and do them safely.”
Irvine teacher Linda Kraft accompanied the students throughout the day. She hoped the students got a lot out of the traumatic brain injury presentation as well as other presentations sponsored by the P.A.R.T.Y program.
“This is just a very pivotal time in their life where their decisions can potentially make them go one or the other. Grade 9 is the perfect age to do this program. I hope they are going to potentially make some different decisions because of what they have seen today,” said Kraft.