Toombs County High School’s FCCLA team has been a successful Teens in the Driver Seat (TDS) program team for the past five year. They have won awards from both Georgia FCCLA and TDS for their work in spreading the message of safe teen driving. This year, they achieved All-Stars status and earned $1,000 from TDS.
Recently, their teacher/sponsor, Therese Standard, spoke with TDS partners, Safe Kids Georgia, about what has made their team so successful. Here’s what we learned:
Q: What is the history of Toombs County High School FCCLA; how long has it been in existence and why did you decide to integrate TDS into your community outreach efforts?
A: Toombs County High School (TCHS) FCCLA started 5 years ago. We started TDS 4 years ago when our local SafeKids coordinator, Bonnie Brantley, contacted us. At first we just started with CPR certification, Teen Maze and the Ghost Out/Crash Scene. Then she suggested Teens in the Driver Seat to me because I was concerned with the amount of crashes we were having in our area and the surrounding counties. I wanted to do something about it but did not know what. In addition, through the FCCLA National Program FACTS, Families Acting for Community Traffic Safety, TCHS could submit an application to win $500.00 and a ribbon. TDS program has enabled us to do that and win money for the organization by earning points through doing activities to develop a safety culture in our community.
Q: Most successful activities? Biggest impact? You mentioned Teen Maze. Why has it been most successful?
A: Teen Maze is one of our most successful activities because the high school students present a skit to the 8th graders about the consequences of attending a non-chaperone party. Another activity that really hits home for our students is the Ghost Out. When students are taken out of class and come back with their face painted white with a teardrop and a statistic pinned on their back of how they died, it impacts the entire student body. These students wander the halls and cannot speak because they are “dead”.
Q: How do you keep teens motivated to continue doing activities and messaging?
A: I assign part of the FCCLA leadership team to work with the TDS-TAB* members. Twice a month we plan activities for our school. We stay focused on the points to earn money for our organization and send teams out to surrounding schools.
Q: What have been the biggest/best lessons along the way?
A: The best lesson is that TDS makes a difference in our school and community. I have seen seat belt use increase and cell phone use decrease (of course with help of the no texting while driving law in Georgia). Teens are going to make decisions with negative consequences so the more we can educate them about driving safely, the safer our society will become.
Q: Tips for other schools?
A: Just do the program! Earn ribbons for FCCLA and have fun doing it. It is easy to implement and has GREAT reps to talk to if you ever have questions. WE LOVE TDS!!
*The TAB is the Teen Advisory Board. Toombs County High School students regularly participate on the Board and help guide the program from a teen perspective. More information can be found here: https://www.t-driver.com/about-us/teen-advisory-board/