Inspirational Message Comes to School

By Jim Maloway, MLA for Elmwood

As published in The Herald

December 23, 2015

Elmwood MLA Jim Maloway with Friends for Life speaker Kevin Brooks.

Honest. Powerful. Emotional. Inspirational.

Those words describe the experience that over 1,000 Miles Macdonell and Elmwood High School students had this month. They listened with rapt attention as Kevin Brooks told them his hard-hitting story about how his life was changed forever by one very bad decision.

Kevin talked about how he went to a party, made the decision to drive drunk and got into a devastating accident. Kevin was paralyzed from the chest down and one of his childhood friends was killed. He faced criminal charges and he could no longer skateboard or play hockey, two of his favourite pastimes.

Kevin now tells his story to help other people make the right decisions. His presentations at Miles Mac and Elmwood High were part of the Manitoba Public Insurance (MPI) Friends for Life program. The series features three speakers who tour more than 30 schools every November. It’s the result of an amazing partnership between MPI, the Manitoba School Boards Association, and Teens Against Drunk Driving.

Kevin has spoken to over half a million people across North America and, without a doubt, his story has directly changed attitudes and saved lives. The Elmwood High School presentation had a deeper significance because it coincided with the National Day of Remembrance for Road Crash Victims.

Our young people, from the ages of 16 to 19, are approximately four times as likely to be involved in a collision related to impaired driving compared to drivers aged 25 and older. The Manitoba government and MPI want to change that statistic and save lives.

From 2009 to 2013 an average of 25 people were killed per year in collisions where impaired driving was a contributing factor. Every one of those deaths was preventable and we need to do whatever we can to motivate people to make the best choices. Thanks to the "Friends for Life" program, tens of thousands of teenagers have been getting the message. Congratulations to all the organizations, teachers, and students who helped make this series happen.

I’d like to wish everyone a safe, healthy and prosperous 2016. Drive safe. If you have any questions, please give my office a call at 204-415-1122 or check out my website, JimMaloway.ca.

Louise Bridge Update: The provincial government prioritized the replacement of the old Louise Bridge, but your support is still crucial to get this project back on track. Please visit the New Louise Bridge Committee’s website, www.LouiseBridge.com, and take part in their survey.