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Youth expo aimed at changing teenage driver behaviour

Youth expo aimed at changing teenage driver behaviour

Upper Hutt City Council and Hutt City Council have teamed up with the Police to educate Hutt Valley teens on changing their driving behaviours at a youth expo running from 9 – 13 June.

UPPER HUTT, Wellington NZ, 04 JUN 2014—The X-ROADS ‘Good Mates, Good Choices’ is a five day expo event which will reach out to over 2,000 students from eight different Hutt Valley schools. It is a bid to educate students about the potentially lethal cocktail of alcohol, drug, and vehicle use. The aim of X-ROADS (pronounced ‘cross-roads’) is to encourage our young people to make good choices and to look after each other in risky situations.

The expo will be held at Lane Park (16 – 22 Lane Street) in Upper Hutt. It will be presented to school groups in sessions of two hours. Each session will be led by youth worker Darryl Gardiner and will cover an array of visual and conversational elements. Gardiner will discuss personal stories with guests, and involve the students in talks to help them understand the lifelong repercussions that driving under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs can have on people’s lives.

Students will see a stage play ‘Gutted’ performed by the National Academy of Singing and Dramatic Art from Christchurch. Trinity Roots co-founder, Rio Hemopo, will share his own personal experiences (of former drug use) through stories and song, in an effort to encourage youth to make better choices at this stage of their lives.

Tori Morrison, the mother of a victim of drunk driving, will re-tell the heart-breaking story of her son’s accident in an effort to make young people understand the real and wider consequences of drinking and driving.

As well as the presentations, students will participate in a range of hands-on activities, brought by a collection of stallholders, which will reinforce the key messages.

“We have a team of experts that are committed to reducing road accidents involving our young people,” says, Upper Hutt City Council Community Development Advisor, Alison Black. “These experts will be interacting with the students and getting them to participate in activities, such as wearing ‘beer goggles’ that impair sight, whilst carrying out a simple task like unlocking a car, and experiencing a ride in a van that simulates driving while drugged.”

Upper Hutt City Council is leading this work, as part of Safe Hutt Valley—a group of organisations working together to improve safety across the Hutt Valley region. The expo is also partly funded by Hutt City Council, Pelorus Trust, and the Infinity Foundation. The Hutt Valley community and several local businesses have provided a huge amount of support for the event, investing in our young people, to help them make good decisions around drugs, alcohol, and driving.

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