MADD Canada

MADD Canada

September 16, 2014 10:00 ET

MADD Canada and LCBO Launch New School Assembly Program to Ontario Students

Forest Hill CI students experience the 'aftermath' of impaired driving

OAKVILLE, ONTARIO--(Marketwired - Sept. 16, 2014) - The physical crash caused by an impaired driver lasts mere seconds. The aftermath remains for months, years and entire lifetimes. Ontario students will see the lasting impact of impaired driving as MADD Canada and provincial partner LCBO team up to deliver Aftermath, the latest School Assembly Program, to schools around the province during the 2014-2015 school year.

Aftermath was screened today for students and staff at Forest Hill Collegiate Institute in Toronto. The program features the fictional story of Charlie, as told by his younger brother Mark. When Charlie decides to drive after drinking and smoking pot - and convinces his best friend Elliott to go with him - the resulting crash leaves a devastating aftermath. Struggling to deal with his feelings, Mark makes a video for Charlie about that terrible decision to drive impaired. The story is followed by emotional and moving interviews with family members of real-life victims of impaired driving.

"Teens and young adults are over-represented in impairment-related crashes to an alarming degree," said MADD Canada National President Angeliki Souranis. "The School Assembly Program is crucial in educating young people about the risks of impaired driving and reinforcing responsible decisions."

While the sober driving message is getting through to many young people, rates of driving impaired or getting into cars with impaired drivers are a concern. Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death among 15 to 25 year olds, and alcohol is a factor in more than 50 per cent of those crashes.

As a Provincial Partner of the School Assembly Program, LCBO is instrumental in the production of the program and its delivery to thousands of Ontario schools throughout the year. LCBO, its employees and its customers raise funds for the program through the Giving Back In Our Community campaign. Each December, LCBO staff invite customers to add a donation to their purchases, or make a donation in the Project Red Ribbon donation boxes at store checkouts. The campaign is hosted to support MADD Canada and four Ontario children's hospitals. Overall, the campaign raised more than $4 million in 2013, with close to $2 million coming to MADD Canada for its School Assembly Program.

"Our staff and our customers recognize the vital need to encourage young people to make responsible choices and help prevent impaired driving through education, awareness and other social responsibility initiatives," said LCBO President and CEO Bob Peter. "We raised a new record of almost $2 million this year to ensure that more than half a million Ontario students will see this program at no cost."

"LCBO's committed staff and generous customers make it possible for MADD Canada to deliver more than 1,500 presentations of Aftermath this school year, at absolutely no charge to the schools," said Ms. Souranis. "We simply could not reach all those students without the support and partnership of the LCBO."

Funds from the latest Giving Back In Our Community campaign will enable MADD Canada to deliver the School Assembly Program to even more Ontario students in the coming school year. MADD Canada plans to double the number of elementary and middle schools receiving the program, significantly increasing the number of students who see this vital sober driving message. Educating Grade 7 and 8 students is an increasingly important focus, as the earlier they hear and understand the sober driving message, the better ingrained that message will be when they reach the legal driving age.

Surveys of students indicate the message is being heard. Viewers who saw the 2012-2013 School Assembly Program are more likely to say that it is not okay to drink any amount before driving, that marijuana use will make someone drive a lot worse and that those who drive while impaired will face serious consequences. In a follow-up survey three months after the presentation, the anti-impaired driving attitudes expressed by students was at the same or higher levels than they were immediately following the presentation.

For more information, or to check out the Aftermath trailer, visit: http://www.madd.ca/madd2/en/services/youth_services_school_aftermath.html

Note to Assignment Editors: For information on when Aftermath is visiting your area, please contact Deb Kelly, MADD Canada Communications Manager at 1-800-665-6233, ext. 240, or dkelly@madd.ca.

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