Big Lakes pitches in to PARTY

Richard Froese
South Peace News

A local program to teach youth about the risks of alcohol has been supported again by Big Lakes County.

At its regular meeting Jan. 10, county council supported a sponsorship of $500 to the Preventing Alcohol-Related Trauma in Youth (PARTY) program organized by the local Alberta Health Services.

The funding was identical to last year provided by the county.

“The program is important to our youth, even if it saves one life,” High Prairie East – Banana Belt Councillor Don Charrois says.

However, one councillor suggests the issue be part of the regular curriculum.

“Schools should teach this in the classroom,” Kinuso Councillor Ken Killeen says.

Set for May 9-10, PARTY is an annual program that teaches Grade 9 students about the effects of alcohol and risk-related behaviors, educates students in good safe and healthy decisions to prevent and reduce injury and fatality in youth, says an information sheet from AHS.

“This year, we will focus on impaired driving from drug impairment and developmental impacts to youth with the upcoming legalization of cannabis (marijuana) and potential increase in usage among youth, says Colette Elko, PARTY program co-ordinator and AHS health promotions facilitator.

“To prevent dangerous risk-taking and injuries, it is essential that youth learn how to recognize risk, manage risk and make health choices,” Elko says.

PARTY was presented last year to High Prairie schools Prairie River Junior High School St. Andrew’s and Prairie River Outreach, along with Atikameg School, Kinuso School, Georges P. Vanier of Donnelly and Ecole Heritage of Falher.

Held at the Gordon Buchanan Recreation Centre, PARTY starts with a mock collision, followed by a guest speaker and hands-on sessions.

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