How do you give back to your community?

I was blown away when I watched MADD Canada’s latest PSA entitled “Impact — Victim Support“. Its goal is to let the public know that MADD Canada has victim support services available. MADD Canada’s mission isn’t just to stop impaired driving. It’s also to support the victims of this violent crime. The organization and its hundreds of chapters and volunteers across Canada offer support to those who have lost a loved one or who themselves have been injured in an impaired driving crash.


It’s timely that I watched it now because while you are reading this, hubby and I are embarking on a 5-hour drive to Windsor, Nova Scotia to take the weekend-long Level II training to become MADD Canada Victim Service Volunteers; otherwise known as a VSV.

VSVs are there to offer support to victims of impaired driving. To become a certified VSV, hubby and I have to undertake two levels of training. First, we had to complete an online training course that took about 10 hours to complete and was designed to increase our sensitivity and knowledge of victims’ issues. We had to receive a “gold” standing to be invited to take the next level of training, which we did – woot woot.

Level II, which we are taking this weekend, is an advanced face-to-face training course. Once we successfully complete this training, as well as meet other screening requirements (criminal background check etc), we will then officially become MADD Canada certified VSVs.

As VSVs, our role in the community will be to provide emotional and practical support either face-to-face or over the phone to victims. As requested, we will offer victims support such as information, a list of relevant resources, advice on how to obtain accident and/or collision autopsy reports, guidance on communicating with crown attorneys, investigating officers, probation officers and/or parole officers and other services as appropriate to victims. We might also be asked to assist victims with the criminal justice process and civil litigation such as court accompaniment or helping them to write a victim impact statement.

As well, we’ll be able to bring them information on many of MADD Canada’s national services such as the National Memorial Wall, traveling wall and On-line Tributes as well as the National Conference for Victims of Impaired Driving and the Annual Candlelight Vigil.

I can’t tell you how inspiring it is to think about giving back to others in the same way that we were supported as a family. It’s sort of like coming full circle. To have the opportunity to offer support to someone in a time of tragedy is both an honor and a privilege.

Keep your fingers crossed that we pass…especially now that I put it all out there.

How do you give back in your community? During times of crisis or tragedy, what kind of support have  you benefited from and/or has surprised you? If you have lost a loved or were injured by an impaired driver, what kind of support has really helped you? I’d love to hear your thoughts…

On August 1, 2009, my beautiful mother-in-law’s life was cut tragically short by an impaired driver and my stepson’s life changed forever. In honor of Donna and Jordan Kennie, please don’t drink and drive. Impaired driving is 100% preventable. Think about it.

Support MADD Canada and follow them on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and on the Web.

Text MADD to 45678 to donate $5 today. Report impaired drivers – CALL 911.

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