With car crashes being the number one killer of American
teens, one local nonprofit is hoping to offer a game changing solution.
Last month, students at Santa Monica High School took
part in the “In One Instant School Safe Driving Program.”
Students went through “In One Instant,” an emotionally
charged experience designed to stop distracted and impaired driving.
The students saw, heard, and felt the emotional tragic
consequences of bad choices that teens often make while driving – such as
texting, cell phone use, alcohol and drug abuse.
They witnessed a reenactment of a collision aftermath
scene and a funeral dramatization. They
heard “Today I Died” letters to loved ones, and encountered actual survivors of
Los Angeles distracted driving tragedies.
They also viewed “Last Texts” from real crash victims’
cell phones and the award-winning “In One Instant” short film.
Vanessa Perez, Samohi Senior Class Vice President, said
the experience really hit home.
“I feel that after going through the In One Instant
workshops I was able to take a step back and really look at the harm driving
under the influence, while texting, or even while friends distract me,” Perez
said. “It really hit home when I, myself, and my mother wrote a goodbye letter
to one another. I didn’t believe I would have such a hard reaction while
reading it aloud to my peers but I just broke down and cried.”
She said her behavior has definitely changed.
“I’m so much more cautious while driving and while I’m in
the car with others,” she said.
Gail Schenbaum Lawton, co-founder of In One Instant, said
she was thrilled to see the impact that In One Instant was already starting to
have on the Samohi students.
“They’ve been emailing and texting me with their thoughts
and feelings,” Lawton said. “One student anonymously texted me: ‘It made me
realize that I want to have fun but it’s not worth dying over.’“
The program culminated on an optimistic, uplifting note, giving
teens Call-to-Action challenges. They
gained the tools to make smart choices – taking ownership, engaging their
peers, and becoming part of the solution.
For more information about In One Instant, visit www.inoneinstant.org.
Copyright © 2011 by Santa Monica Mirror. All rights reserved.