Stick people get animated for MADD Canada

I’m sure you’ve seen them; the stick families. The little decal representations of family members, pets, hobbies etc on display on the rear window of vehicles as a symbol of the vehicle’s precious cargo. It’s hugely popular here.

I think they are adorable! I’d love to have a little stick decal of Hubby, the Dude and TESS!!

One MADD Canada chapter, MADD Edmonton & Area, is tapping into the stick family decal phenomenon to drive the message of impaired driving home. They’ve developed the Stick Family Campaign; animated decal stick figure family illustrating what happens after a tragic car crash has occurred. Like last week’s post with Simple Plan’s video, this campaign shifts the focus away from impaired drivers and shines a light on the families who are affected by the carelessness of impaired driving.

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I get goose bumps every time I watch it. So simple yet so powerful.

I love how this campaign is designed to make us think critically about a serious situation because, as the commercial shows and we all know, the decision to drive impaired has long and devastating effects.

The Stick Family Campaign also produced coordinating print material and impaired driving awareness decals.

However, I haven’t been able to track down where a person can buy these decals specifically although I believe you can get window decals custom-made at local print/design shops. Hmmmm…something to consider….

What do you think of using a popular fad like the stick family decals to relay an important message? Do you have stick family decals on your vehicles? Would you have some custom-made in honor of a loved one or to relay socially responsible messaging that’s close to your heart? 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.

More blog deliciousness here:

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How can people continue to drink and drive after hearing these stories?

You may have seen on Facebook or in the news the deeply tragic story about a fatal crash that killed a Calgary woman Sunday August 12, 2012.

Kelli-Jo Smith, 38, died after the Ford pickup her husband was driving was hit by a Mercedes about 3:15 am Sunday. What makes the already tragic story even more gut wrenching (as if it could be) is that Kelli-Jo and her husband were actually acting as sober, designated drivers for a very responsible wedding crew who called on them for their assistance.

The best man in the wedding, after drowning a few drinks to give him the courage to make his speech, made the smart choice and opted not to drive impaired. He called his uncle (who had always gladly taken calls in the middle of the night to be a DD) and his stepfather to drive a handful of people home who had been drinking.

After driving everyone home and visiting with a few friends, he and his wife (who had just celebrated their second wedding anniversary) were headed home themselves when their Ford F150 was t-boned by a Mercedes-Benz sedan. The truck spun and struck a large power pole and both Kelli-Jo and her husband, Sean, were thrown from the vehicle.

Reports state that when Sean gained consciousness, he heard his wife cry out and crawled 70 meters to hold her in his arms and say good-bye as she passed away.

Is that not the saddest thing you’ve ever heard? And so senseless! I have tears burning in my eyes.

Sean himself suffered multiple injuries including hand, ankle and spine fractures and severe road rash and is still in hospital while the 27-year-old male driver of the Mercedes sustained minor injuries…and was released on bail not 2 days after the crash.

Makes me sick.

The impaired driver faces charges of impaired driving causing death, impaired driving causing bodily harm, and refusing to provide a breath sample.

I’ll be continuing to follow this case.

This comes not ONE WEEK after a 19-year-old impaired driver killed 49-year-old Jayantha Wijeratne and his 16-year-old daughter, Eleesha, in Toronto. Antonette, Jayantha’s wife, was rushed to hospital with life-threatening injuries.

According to one news report, the family was returning from a 5-day vacation in Florida. Eleesha’s 19-old-brother, Brian, who wasn’t with the family when the crash happened, was informed about the death of his father and sister by two police officers. He then had to tell his mother, in critical condition, that her daughter and husband were dead.

Can you imagine? My heart breaks for these families. Such senseless devastation!

You can see an interview between Sun News’ Charles Adler and Brian Wijeratne on what’s happened to his family. Charles asks the question “are our drunk driving laws tough enough?” Brian responded with a sentiment I share. It feels like people don’t view drunk driving causing death as much, certainly not murder. It’s like impaired drivers who kill aren’t considered killers because they were drunk and suddenly that becomes an “excuse” or makes them less accountable for their choices and actions.

I agree with Brian. And I think if you choose to drive drunk, that should be considered intent to kill and it should be treated like premeditated murder. But I realize, I am slightly bias.

I leave you with this…Rethink Impaired Driving!

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What do you think? Is impaired driving causing death murder or do you think that because the driver was under the influence, they weren’t in their “right” frame of mind and therefore it’s good that it’s treated like a lesser offence? What do you think needs to change so that impaired driving stops? Is it laws, policies, education or a combination of all three? Or do you think as long as there is alcohol, there will be drunk drivers?

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 (@maddcanada), YouTube, and on the Web.

More blog deliciousness here:

Saint John event raises $11K towards impaired driving awareness and prevention

So y’all know hubby and I took part in MADD Canada’s Saint John Chapter Strides for Change walk-a-thon on June 2. I wanted to give you an update on what you all helped us accomplish!!

The event raised over $11,000!!!

Can you believe that?!?! Ahhhmazing especially when you consider this was just one of 19 events across the country. Of that, hubby and I raised $816 in large part due to all of YOU. Yeahhh!!! Thank you!

The monies raise through Strides for Change go towards MADD Canada’s:

  • Victim Services: printed material on grief and coping with injury, resource guides, “We Care” program, emotional support, annual Candlelight Vigil and Victim’s Weekend (hundreds find comfort in each other and facilitated sessions), court monitoring, court accompaniment and support (we couldn’t have gotten through it without them), victim impact panels (again support was crucial for us), victim services volunteer training, and death notification training (helping police deal with the sensitivities of contacting families).
  • Chapter Events: project red ribbon, campaign 911, R.I.D.E./Sobriety checkpoints, educational assembly show for high schools and elementary schools, and public awareness presentations.
  • Public Policy: MADD Canada works with chapters and community leaders to create, strengthen and enforce impaired driving laws. MADD Canada and local volunteers work tirelessly meeting with government officials to have new Federal and Provincial legislation implemented.

Here are a few pics from the event for your viewing pleasure.

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What types of fundraising events do you enjoy taking part in most? What do you think works best at raising funds and/or awareness? Any tips or tricks if we organize the event in our home town next year? I’d love to hear your thoughts and suggestions.

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 (@maddcanada), YouTube, and on the Web.

More blog deliciousness here:

Video that will give you pause

This video brought tears rushing to my eyes.

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It hit so close to home for me. At the sentencing for Mamma K’s case, one of her very young grandchildren read his victim impact statement about how he and his Mom choose a star in the sky and named it for his Nanny….and how he looks at that star every night and talks to his Nanny. Every single person in the courtroom, including the judge, cried.

I think it’s important to remember that the loss of a loved one by an impaired driver has a ripple effect. For us, it wasn’t just Mamma K’s children and siblings that feel her loss deeply but also her young grandchildren whom her loss was for the most part their first experience with the loss of a loved one.

I hope this video speaks to you and if you or anyone you know heads out to drive impaired (even after just a couple of beers when you think you are fine), that this video will come back to you and cause you to take pause. Or to speak out to someone. And let these sobering words fill your mind and heart “it’s simply not worth the risk…

Have you had young children deal with the loss of a loved one? How did you/they cope? What tips and tricks did you find helped them deal with their grief? I’d love to hear…

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 (@maddcanada), YouTube, and on the Web.

More blog deliciousness here:

  • I got an absolute TON of good, useful information from Jane Friedman’s guest post at Sarah Bartlett’s blog about how to use facebook effectively as an author. Made me completely rethink how I’ll use Facebook down the road!
  • Have you seen other people’s Contact Me form and wondered how they did that. Well if you have a WordPress.com blog, WordPress Woodie (AKA Carrie Spencer) can hook you up!
  • Loved August McLaughlin’s post this week on how to create Pinterest-friendly blogs – GREAT tips you won’t want to miss.

The science of social media

Yesterday morning I attended a presentation on the power of social media (SM). The presentation covered everything from hugely successful social media campaigns such as Pepsi’s Refresh Project to some of the bigger blunders. Even though I was there representing my work, brainstorming for ideas on how we could implement a SM strategy, it got me thinking about it on a personal level as well.

The more I get out there blogging and surfing around, the more I see people are interconnecting themselves between their Facebook, twitter, blogs etc. And at yesterday’s presentation, the speaker talked about companies maximizing and playing off of this interconnectivity so that you have a comprehensive social media presence all feeding off each other – Facebook, blog, twitter, and YouTube accounts all connected and driving content on your website homepage for example. Wow!

On a personal level, obviously I have a blog. The only other social media platforms I really tap into are Facebook and twitter.

I would say I am pretty prolific on Facebook. I am near the 300 mark on friends. I post status updates fairly regularly (although not hourly), use Facebook to plan events, and I post a lot of photos etc. For me, it’s a great way to stay in touch with friends and family. I like to see what old junior high and high school friends are up to by visiting their profiles from time to time, seeing the “goings on” of family located around the world running through my news feed – it’s fantastic. And I like that the relationships are not time or investment intensive. The people I am close to, I have more personal conversations, emails, and face-to-face time with. But Facebook allows me to stay connected to them, as well as those more distant acquaintances, with the click of a button when, where, and how often I want.

Twitter on the other hand, has me a bit lost. I don’t understand the point. I’ve been login on more often to try to get a sense of what people tweet about – how would I use it – how can I leverage it but I am still lost and don’t really see the point yet. 140 characters – do people really want to hear what I am doing right now, where I am at, what I am working on? I don’t think so. I get the news tweets – those make sense. And some of the tweets from our local leaders are interesting. But I still feel like I am missing the point of twitter for personal use.

Although, the SM presentation did highlight how now that I am blogging, I could use both Facebook and twitter to drive traffic and feed off one another – and drive content. Interesting and it’s pretty clear how effective and easy it would be and how those mediums would really enable me to gain readership.

The catch: I haven’t yet “come out” as a blogger to all of my friends and family. I don’t advertise my latest posts on Facebook or twitter, and I know this means I am missing out on an untapped readership. So why haven’t I yet? As of now, I write with a certain level of freedom that comes with anonymity and I am not sure if I want to sacrifice that in the name of blog stats. Or maybe (and more likely) I am just scared of being judged by those who know me? Perhaps a crisis of confidence.

Either way, when I am ready to go “viral”, I can certainly see how tapping into social media platforms will enable me to make the leap!

How do you use social media professionally or personally? Do you capitalize on different platforms to enhance your blog readership?

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