SAFE Night teaches kids about dangers of drugs, driving drunk
By ANGIE HAFLICH
Kids learned about everything from the dangers of using drugs to the importance of wearing seat belts Tuesday night at Kenneth Henderson Middle School's Community SAFE Night.
"SAFE stands for Seatbelts Are For Everyone, and we wanted to do a seat belt night but realized there is actually more to it. There are so many other destructive decisions that kids make," said Brandy Unruh, senior resource officer at KHMS.
Throughout the school and in the parking lot, different scenarios were set up to encourage students to make good choices.
Students in the Junior Leadership Core at KHMS conducted research about the effects of using different kinds of drugs and then presented that research on story boards.
"My class did what ecstasy can do to you and what inhalants can do to you," said 12-year-old Viney Rivera, commander of the JLC. "It can cause really bad things in your life."
The story board showed the effects of the drugs on people's appearance.
Aaron Borunda, a 13-year-old JLC sergeant, said his class looked at what those same drugs do to the body and the brain.
"It relaxes your body, and it won't let you do as many things as you want, and it causes loss of appetite and it gives you glazed eyes and makes you vomit," Borunda said. "I learned a lot of things on this."
Jennifer Pacheco, 12, said she also learned a valuable lesson from doing the project.
"After one use of ecstasy or inhalants, you can die," she said.
Other JLC students researched the effects of using cocaine, methamphetamines, prescription drugs and marijuana and presented booths with their findings.
The effects of using drugs and alcohol were shown using a real-life person. Sarah Trimble, paramedic with Finney County EMS, was on hand to explain to students the consequences of mixing alcohol and drugs, or mixing drugs or taking the wrong drugs, as 13-year-old Darby Schneider played the part of a person who had just vomited and was passed out.
"This is our EMS overdose demonstration, where we have a lady who's overdosed on something and they're going to talk about the side effects of when they're mixing alcohol and drugs, mixing drugs or taking the wrong things," Unruh said.
Kids were also shown the dangers of texting and driving in a simulation in which they had to ride a tricycle around orange construction cones while reading texts from a card.
18-year-old Ofelia Carrillo, who was one of several students from Garden City Community College's Department of Public Safety who participated in SAFE Night, ran alongside the kids, serving as an additional distraction.
"Look out for that dog! You almost ran over the dog!" she yelled, pointing at one of the cones.
Carrillo said all of the kids had run over at least one cone, and some had run over all of the cones. She was using several examples to distract kids as they drove on the tricycles, even acting as if she was in their backseat, poking them and telling them to change the radio station.
"There could also be squirrels and dogs that run in the middle of the street that they won't see if they're texting," she said.
The Garden City Police Department conducted a drunken driving simulation, where students attempted to ride tricycles around orange construction cones while wearing goggles that simulate what it's like to drive under the influence of alcohol.
A video game also was used to teach kids the negative effects of drinking alcohol.
The GCPD also showed students how little time it takes to buckle up.
"A lot of times kids say 'Oh, I'm just going across town. It takes too long to buckle my seat belt,'" Unruh said, adding that the drill was designed to show students how little time it takes to be safe.
A former KHMS student provided a story board about the role a seat belt played in saving her own life.
"This was a story board about her accident, and they think the only reason she survived it was because she was wearing her seat belt," Unruh said.
The Garden City Fire Department was also on hand for the event, showing students how to escape a house fire and the proper technique for handling a fire extinguisher.
SAFE is run by the school's Students Against Destructive Decisions (SADD) group.