Being crowned Miss Teenage Manitoba 2015 has been one of the best experiences in my life. At the age of nineteen, I’ve learned more about myself than I thought I would have known, even years down the road. I’ve volunteered and made a difference in my community. I’ve traveled across the country by myself, and I’m currently experiencing the beginning stages of creating lasting memories and friendships with people nationwide. Now imagine, for a second, if I wasn’t there. Just completely, and utterly gone.
Today, this is happening to too many people. The teenager living in the house on the street corner has suddenly stopped getting the paper in the morning and waving to you, something you considered to be a morning ritual. Your peer from college abruptly stops coming to her favourite class. Why? It’s not because these young adults are moving away from home. It’s because they are dying. Today, motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death among 16 to 25 year olds. Alcohol is a factor in 55% of these crashes. My platform is to raise awareness against the dangers associated with drinking and driving, to ensure that no more lives or families are torn apart due to the unwise decision that one person chooses to make.
Why did I choose this platform?
As I’m nineteen turning twenty, my friends and I are now at the age that we can go out, have a few drinks, and enjoy a nice summer evening. Last May, my friends and I decided to do just that, and enjoy a social gathering down in Victoria Beach. Five of us arrived at the party, however around 1:30am, only four of us left. Our fifth friend, Alex, decided to spend the night at the cabin. Something changed, however, and around 3:30am Alex made the decision to get in a car with a driver who was intoxicated, and go for a ride. This turned out to be once of the worst decisions he could have ever made. Shortly after they embarked on the trip, the driver took a turn on a gravel road going 160km/h. The vehicle proceeded to flip three times, and land upside down in a water-filled ditch. Remarkably, no one passed in this accident, however injuries did occur. The accident left Alex in a medically-induced coma, followed by a long period of recovery time. Not knowing, for the first day or so, if Alex was going to survive, was emotionally devastating for his friends and I, as well as his family. This made me realize… We aren’t invincible. Drinking and driving is so unsafe, and has horrible consequences for everyone involved. No longer, do I want people to experience the emotional trauma that Alex’s friends and family were put through in the weeks following his accident, which is why I strongly believe in raising awareness of all the consequences that are associated with this criminal offence.
What would I do with my platform as Miss Teenage Canada?
The truth is that drinking and driving tends to be a societal issue that effects OUR generation. We are not seeing the middle-aged, mother of two, being pulled over for operating a vehicle while impaired. We are seeing our peers. We are seeing our 19 year old neighbours down the street. Today, we are seeing an increasing number of teenagers choosing to make the reckless decision of drinking and driving. As Miss Teenage Canada, I could, and would, work with an organization such as Mother’s Against Drunk Driving (MADD) not only province-wide, but nationwide as well. As I currently volunteer with the Winnipeg chapter of MADD, my next step as Miss Teenage Canada would be stepping up as a nationwide ambassador, who travels and presents at school assemblies dedicated to safe driving throughout the year. Following this, I plan on creating an organization geared towards teenagers, that raises awareness of the dangers associated with drinking and driving. The reason I’m volunteering with MADD is because currently, in Manitoba, there is not a single student-run organization focusing on intoxicated driving. As young adults are the age bracket most influenced by drinking and driving, we should be the ones who care. We should be the ones who take action, and work to put an end to intoxicated driving. Being Miss Teenage Canada would be an absolute honour, and allow me to promote my platform even better than I could if I stayed Miss Teenage Manitoba. I truly hope that his becomes a reality in six short days, as I am so excited for the opportunities that the title of Miss Teenage Canada would bring to me and my future!
Talk to you all soon,