Project Night draws large crowd


First Posted: 5/28/2009

The fire marshal was turning people away at the door for Project Night at the Cinema.
The program was part of the Project: Connect the Dots campaign and featured a number of public service announcements as well as a documentary on the effects of drinking and driving which were shown at the 460-seat Downtown Cinema Thursday night.
The documentary and public service announcements, which were created for both audio and video feeds, featured a number of prominent faces in the county as well as a number of individuals who volunteered to help with the event.
This is a very important meeting tonight. Tonight is a small part of a big effort, said David Browning, who made a special appearance as the Mayberry Deputy.
This, to me, underlines how this community comes together. You are to be applauded for being part of this tonight, Brack Llewellyn, emcee, told the capacity crowd.
Members of Mount Airy High Schools Students Against Destructive Decisions organization created a set of videos and a set of audio public service announcements which were aimed mostly towards people in their age group.
Surry Emergency Medical Services also created a video short regarding the effects of alcohol. It took viewers through an emergency services call where a teenager had collapsed after drinking too much.
Brittany Boles, one of the participants in the EMS video, decided to participated after the Health Occupations Students of America teacher at East Surry High School told students about the project because of some personal experiences she has had relating to the topic.
I think it will get the message out there that it does affect everyone, she said of Project: Connect the Dots and the messages associated with it. I think the fact that it had people their own age and who they know it will hit home a lot more.
Tabitha Haymore, a North Surry High School student, also participated in the EMS video and feels the whole project was a good experience.
Drinking and driving is not worth losing a family member, a sibling or a friend, she said.
Kimberly Newman decided to participate in the project when her teacher told her class about it. She found the project worthwhile because she was able to reconnect with some people.
The documentary created by the project featured a number of people who spoke about the effects of driving while impaired as well as the consequences of such actions.
Surry County Sheriff Graham Atkinson became involved at the beginning of the project and was happy to help out with the video project as well.
I am absolutely amazed with the turnout. The number of young people here fascinates me, he said. Its a great testament to the people who put this thing together.
Tim Harrison and Michelle Steele work for Crossroads Behavioral Services, one of the main groups involved in the project. Thursday night was the first time they had seen the culmination of the project.
We had heard about it, but we hadnt seen it, said Harrison. It was very professionally done.
Knowing a lot of past victims, it really hit home, added Steele.
Project: Connect the Dots is the result of a needs assessment conducted in Surry County and is made possible by the Surry County Strategic Framework – State Incentive Grant. The needs assessment determined that Surry County had an disproportionate number of alcohol-related incidents to its population and those involved in the program set about coming up with ways to address that problem.
Information from Project: Connect the Dots will make its way across the county to schools, community groups, civic organizations and church groups. More information is available on the programs Web site at www.projectconnectthedots.info.
Contact Morgan Wall at [email protected] or 719-1929.

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