Unique in its design and powerful in its impact, “Shattered Dreams” is an educational experience that reminds us all of the dangers associated with drinking and driving. It reminds us that too many young lives have already been lost and countless others severely impaired because of the tragic consequences of underage drinking and drinking combined with driving. “Shattered Dreams” is about drinking and driving. It’s about living and dying. Can “Shattered Dreams” make a difference in a young person’s life? Families, schools, faith-based and community groups in Texas must join together to teach young people that consuming alcohol while underage is never a good choice. Can our communities afford to ignore the devastating impact that underage drinking is causing?
The “Shattered Dreams” program involves the dramatization of an alcohol-related crash on or near a high school campus, complete with police and EMS response, emergency room treatment, family notifications, and the arrest and booking of the driver. The crash scene drama is played out before the student body during a school day. Throughout the day the other elements of the “docu-drama” unfold. To give students a better understanding of the number of DWI-related deaths, an individual dressed as the “Grim Reaper” appears periodically throughout the school day to select a new victim. In 2000 every 20 minutes someone in Texas was injured or killed as the result of drunk driving. The victims are taken out of class, made-up in white faces and dressed in black t-shirts to symbolize death, and then returned to their classrooms to continue their day. By the end of the day, every student has one or more “dead” classmates present in the classroom with him, and on this note the school day ends.
The next morning a wrap-up assembly is held featuring those who played roles in the previous day’s drama, including the “crash” victims, the drunk driver, their parents, and participating law enforcement and medical personnel. Impact statements from community members whose lives have been affected by teenage alcohol use and drunk driving bring closure to the program and reinforce its dual message for the teenage audience — Don’t drink until you are 21, and never drink and drive.