Keys to Life Shows Impaired Driving Dangers Ahead of Prom
Healthy Robeson, a program of UNC Health Southeastern’s Community Health Services department, has coordinated Keys to Life programs at all Robeson County high schools, as well as the Public Schools of Robeson County Early College at Robeson Community College, in an effort to educate students about the dangers of impaired and distracted driving.
“Keys to Life is a powerful accident re-enactment with the purpose of emphasizing the dangers of driving impaired,” said UNC Health Southeastern Community Health Services Director Lekisha Hammonds. “Numerous local first responders, businesses and agencies participate in the program, which includes a graphic wreck scene, complete with helicopter transport, and a funeral scene, designed to elicit an emotional and impactful response from students who often feel invincible or that they are immune to dangers. While our goal isn’t to scare students, it is to make a lasting impact that they will remember, especially when they may be tested or tempted to drink and drive.”
After the re-enactment, students take part in an impaired driving course and tour the North Carolina Forensic Test for Alcohol Mobile Unit.
With the help of major sponsors, including UNC Health Southeastern, UNC Health Southeastern Foundation, and the Lumberton ABC board, the program will have been presented at all high schools before prom: St. Pauls High School, March 23; Purnell Swett High School, April 4; Lumberton High School, April 5; Fairmont High School, April 8; and Red Springs High School, April 11. A modified program will be held at PSRC Early College at RCC on April 13.
The UNC Health Southeastern Foundation raised funds for the Keys to Life program through its Best Health Forward initiative, which included the 2019 Boots-&-BBQ and 2020 Gala, where sponsors, donors and individuals throughout the region showed their support for the county-wide prevention program. Best Health Forward closely aligned with UNC Health Southeastern’s mission statement to improve community health and quality of life through three main priorities areas which were identified in the 2017 Community Health Needs Assessment: Obesity, Substance Misuse/Mental Health and Social Determinants of Health.
“It was important to the UNC Health Southeastern Foundation Board to be able to provide funds to expand this proven program beyond Lumberton and Pembroke to all the high schools in Robeson County so that all students get the opportunity to see this powerful experience as a way to prevent unnecessary deaths due to drinking and driving,” said UNC Health Southeastern Foundation Executive Director Sissy Grantham. “If one student’s mind is changed, every dollar spent has been well worth the investment.”
According to the NC Department of Transportation’s 2017 Crash Facts, an average of over 1,300 alcohol-related crashes involve teen drivers each year. These types of motor vehicle accidents result in an average of 20 deaths and 730 injuries to teens each year. (https://connect.ncdot.gov/business/DMV/CrashFactsDocuments/2017%20Crash%20Facts.pdf)
Re-enactors and participants are given T-shirts, customized with their individual school mascot and colors, as a thank you for their involvement in the program as well as to further promote the cause as they wear them throughout their respective communities.
Keys to Life is one of many programs offered by Healthy Robeson and Community Health Services.
Healthy Robeson, formerly known as the Robeson County Partnership for Community Health, initially convened in 1997. The program’s vision is to establish Robeson County as the healthiest county in North Carolina and with a mission to improve population health in Robeson County. This collaborative group (50 members representing 27 different agencies) identified several priority health issues in the county, chronic disease, substance misuse, and obesity.
The mission of UNC Health Southeastern’s Community Health Services is to inspire the community towards a healthier state of well-being through the promotion and enhancement of health and wellness programming, services and resources.
For additional information on upcoming programing and health observances, call (910) 671-5593 or visit Community Health Services or Healthy Robeson on Facebook.
To learn more about the UNC Health Southeastern Foundation, visit unchealthsoutheastern.org/foundation/