February 19, 2014 - Students Against Destructive Decisions is collecting shoes for donation to people in need in the community. First, though, the footwear is needed for another purpose.
They will represent the 259 men, women, and children lost due to drunk driving accidents in Michigan in 2012 at SADD's Walk to Remember Memorial Walk, Thursday, Feb. 27, 6-8 p.m. at Clarkston High School.
Clarkston SADD member Meghan Gruebnau witnessed the activity when she was younger, and the memory stuck with her.
"My aunt was a member of MADD, and I went to a bunch of walks and activities," Gruebnau said. "I remember they had shoes out as a memorial, and I thought it was a really great idea. It's impactful to see how many have died."
"It's something where, when someone tells me about drunk driving, I wouldn't necessarily understand, but to actually see it, you realize that's a lot of shoes – you see how many have died," said fellow SADD member Sonam Patel.
"The shoes are very visual, almost visceral representation of the lives lost to making bad choices," said club member Evan Wolfert. "How many men, women, and children lost to drunk driving – it's more personal than just a number."
The club is collecting any size gently used shoes, sandals, slippers and boots, said Patricia Carter, teacher advisor.
The club was awarded a grant from Ford Motor Company, AAA, and Office of Highway and Safety, to help promote teen safe driving. Last year, the topic of their club project, for which they earned a second-place award, was texting and driving.
The SADD program includes a visit to Ford Proving Ground.
"We drove a course with a bunch of curves and cones," Gruebnau said. "Then you would try texting messages, and see the little cones getting hit everywhere."
This year, they take on underage drinking, and drinking and driving.
"Part of the grant program is to increase awareness and help teens and community members make good choices while behind the wheel of a car," Carter said.
The project includes a presurvey of students, video for the entire school, and teacher led discussion on Feb. 26; second hour senior assembly with a MADD representative and the Walk to Remember, Feb. 27; and lunch discussion and banner to sign, Feb. 28.
The Feb. 27 evening event, which is open to the public, will include a driver simulation of what it's like to drive drunk, information from AAA and Ford, Memorial Walk, and other activities.
Drop off gently used footwear in the box marked "CHS SADD Shoe Drive" at Clarkston schools. After the walk, the shoes will be donated to Lighthouse North and Salvation Army.
For more information, contact Carter at firstname.lastname@example.org or 248-623-4025, or check Twitter, "#BeTheChoice."
Phil is editor for The Clarkston News. He is a veteran of the first Iraq war, having served in the U.S. Army.