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Every 15 Minutes

Every 15 Minutes

This amazing program is no longer utilized through our PAL;
but we are leaving the details up for now in case other schools or programs are interested and need details. 



    Every 15 Minutes someone in the United states dies in an alcohol related car crash.  This statistic is the basis of the "Every 15 Minutes" program; a program designed to battle teens' involvement with alcohol.  The first "Every 15 Minutes" program in Niagara Falls was conducted at Niagara Falls High School on May 20 & 21, 2002.  This date coincided with the week of Class Day and was also two weeks before Prom.  Niagara Falls High School was selected because of a group of dedicated students who worked hard to bring the program into their high school.  The program was a success because of the administration's willingness to work with the community for the benefit of the students.  The program was targeted to the senior class, which number approximately 450 students.  A core group of dedicated student officers played a vital role in the program.  The timing of the program was crucial; Class Day and Prom are major events which sometimes lead to alcohol related deaths.  This program is aimed to prevent this from happening.


Two Day Overview

    This program creates an awareness of the serious consequences of drinking and driving.  It also provides education which empowers teens to make wiser choices in regard to drinking and driving.  The program is proactive; it uses dramatic visual lessons in regard to death.  It is staged at a time when it is known that teens are more apt to participate in the consumption of alcohol.  The parent/child involvement is a large portion of this program.  Teens write letters to their parents after they "die" in an alcohol-related crash.  Parents have the task of writing their own child's obituary.  The real possibility of a child dying in this type of scenario creates a tremendous impact on teens, parents, friends, and the community.  The range of emotions this invokes in participants and observers can be vast.  Each person will react in his or her own unique way.  The distinction in this program is that the community joins together as a whole to help teens find alternatives in their battle with involvement with alcohol.

Organization of the Program

    The Niagara Falls Youth Court was the organizing agency coordinating the program.  Community collaboration and commitment are the key to successfully implementing and initiating the effort.  The success of the program would not have been possible without the support of the Niagara Falls Board of Education, the administration and staff of Niagara Falls High School, and the Niagara Police Athletic League.  Mainly the program success is owed to the group of dedicated students who worked tirelessly to bring this program into the high school.  It is this group of students who planned and carried out the entire program.  Adult advisors were there to guide the students alon the way, however, the bulk of the planning was carried out by the teens involved.

Initial Planning

    The Niagara Falls Youth Court coordinated with the entities involved, developed meeting agendas, identified needs, developed resources, purchased t-shirts, and ensured materials were ready for meetings and events.  The Niagara Falls Youth Court worked along with the Niagara Falls School District and the Niagara Police Athletic League to name potential planning committee members, recruit student volunteers, and arrange meetings to gain support for the program.

    In order to guarantee success it is important to have the full support of the community.  Obtaining the interest of the student body is a must.  Once you have their interest, the parents' will follow.  The input of the parents and students is invaluable for the program to have its full effect.

    Every community of course is very different.  Therefore, the program should be conducted in a fashion that suits the needs of your community.  It may not be necessary to include all of the events done by the Niagara Falls Youth Court.  It is your option which part of the programs you use.  Generally the steps toward developing the program are:
  • Determine the coordinating agency
  • Gain support from sponsoring agencies
  • Identify available resources and determine the extent of the program
  • Acquire funding necessary
  • Gain cooperation and support from your school
  • Establish a planning committee
  • Establish subcommittees
  • Develop a timeline and meeting schedule
  • Develop a system of reporting to maintain desired schedule
  • Involve community and students to the fullest extent
    Remember: Not everything goes as planned, be ready to have to modify your schedule if the need arises.  The coordinating agency must always be available to the subcommittees as a support, to do presentations, and to provide clerical services.

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