AgriLife Extension program helps Texans watch their ‘BAC’
by PAUL SCHATTENBERG
Jul 13, 2014 | 902 views | 0 0 comments | 4 4 recommendations | email to a friend | print

AgriLife Extension program helps Texans watch their ‘BAC’

Watch UR BAC program accepting requests for alcohol awareness presentations

COLLEGE STATION – Due to a recently approved grant renewal, the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service’s Watch UR BAC program will be able to continue offering free alcohol awareness programs throughout the state, said program manager Bobbi Brooks, based in College Station.

“With continued funding from the Texas Department of Transportation, we want people to know that if they’d like to have such a program at a school, county fair, safety or health fair, or other community location or event, we are now accepting requests for from October of this year through September of next year,” Brooks said.

Watch UR BAC — the BAC refers to blood alcohol concentration– is an interactive AgriLife Extension program that has been promoting alcohol awareness through educational outreach for the past three years, Brooks explained. Team members have decades of combined experience in drunk driving prevention and alcohol awareness education.

StudentsStudents wait for their turn to use the DWI simulator during a Watch UR BAC presentation at the University of Houston. (Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service photo)

Students wait for their turn to use the DWI simulator during a Watch UR BAC presentation at the University of Houston. The program uses interactive technology and explans the consequences drinking and driving. (Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service photo)

“The purpose of the program is to teach Texans about the dangers of alcohol misuse, including binge drinking, alcohol poisoning and the dangers of impaired driving,” she said.

Brooks said the team uses a modern interactive approach with its audiences, engaging them through the use of technology and “impactful” presentations by or about those affected by impaired driving.

“The program has recently added another DWI prevention simulator, and these simulators are usually a big draw at our presentations,” she said. “We also have a pedal car that is used with the impaired driving goggles while pedaling through a cone course.”

Watch UR BAC program coordinator Laura Dean-Mooney, also based in College Station, said another objective is to reach parents through meetings held the evening following a school presentation.

“These meetings focus on the dangers of providing alcohol to minors, trends in underage drinking and demonstrations of the impaired driving goggles,” she said. “We have found that parents are often not aware of what is going on with youth in terms of drinking trends and statistics.”

Dean-Mooney said their programs often include presentations of “unique and moving stories” relating to some of the serious consequences associated with driving under the influence.

“We have had Sean and Jenny Carter speak at some events and the feedback on their presentation has been incredible,” she said. “Audiences have been truly touched by ‘When Sean Speaks’ — the story of a young man and his mother describing the consequences of getting in the car with a drinking driver and the aftermath of living with a traumatic brain injury.”

More information on the Carter’s story can be found at:http://www.whenseanspeaks.com.

Dean-Mooney said the program also uses the Amber Menefee Mobile Memorial, a trailered crashed car and presentation about Amber Menefee, a student at Texas Tech University killed by a drunk driver in 2006. More information on the mobile memorial can be found at: http://www.ambersmobilememorial.org.

Dean-Mooney said both presentations have limited availability and “When Sean Speaks” requires a minimum of 200 attendees.

“If your county or school does not have an audience that size, please consider inviting other schools or 4-H clubs from surrounding areas for an assembly or gathering,” she said.

Brooks said those wanting a Watch UR BAC alcohol awareness program at their location can contact the Watch UR BAC staff for a request form.

“Priority is given to communities where we have not presented in the last year, and we ask that people book as early as possible for scheduling purposes,” she said.

She also suggested checking the program’s website athttp://watchurbac.tamu.edu/; Facebook page, Watch UR BAC; or Twitter account, @WatchURBAC, for current updates.

For more information on the Watch UR BAC program, contact Brooks at 979-862-8325 or blbrooks@ag.tamu.edu, Dean-Mooney at 979-862-1911 orldmooney@ag.tamu.edu,or Janet Sandera at 979-458-0124 orjanet.sandera@ag.tamu.edu.

 
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