Wednesday, 16 May 2018

The Rewards of Volunteering - Medicine Hat P.A.R.T.Y program

Lisa Doyle, AHS
Lisa Doyle, Alberta Health Services - Are you interested in positively impacting students’ lives? The P.A.R.T.Y (Prevention of Alcohol and Risk Related Trauma in Youth) program does just that. The P.A.R.T.Y program was developed in Toronto, Ontario in 1986 by a trauma team who saw the need to create a program to teach students that injuries are predictable and preventable. Ultimately, the goal is to reduce to the number of teens who experience preventable injuries.

The P.A.R.T.Y program teaches students about choices and risks, making them aware that risks can have consequences; and to understand the importance of managing risks, throughout the use of SMART Risk Messages. The students who come to P.A.R.T.Y have the opportunity to hear from a variety of presenters on topics including traumatic injuries, traumatic brain injuries, addiction, mental health, law enforcement, the role of EMS, ER, OT/PT and getting to hear from an injury survivor.

Like all programs, P.A.R.T.Y relies on volunteers who help make the program possible. I recently had the opportunity to sit down with Donna, one of the dedicated P.A.R.T.Y volunteers to hear about her experience as a volunteer for the program.

As a P.A.R.T.Y program volunteer, what is the most rewarding aspect of this position?

“The most rewarding aspect of the position would be seeing the impression it makes on the students, making them aware of the choices they make while educating students on taking smart risks. It is also rewarding to know it will enlighten students, affecting them positively.”

Before you applied to become a hospital volunteer, had you heard about P.A.R.T.Y before or participated in a P.A.R.T.Y day in the past?

“No, I heard about it from a colleague through another volunteer program. They explained what the program was all about, which made me interested in finding out more information.”

What interested you the most about the P.A.R.T.Y program?

“Everything in general, the entire program. Making students aware of the life ahead of them. The injury survivor presentation hits home and makes students understand it can happen to anyone, anyone's life can change unexpectedly and be put into a life-changing situation. Students have the opportunity to hear from individuals who have sustained life-altering injuries and to understand that even if it happened several years ago, it still affects people presently to this day.”

What recommendations do you have for recruiting P.A.R.T.Y program volunteers?

“Making them aware of the difference it can make on the students, and how they can positively impact lives. It's a fun program to be a part of, all the presentations are interesting, it’s run really well and you will find it rewarding.”

The Medicine Hat P.A.R.T.Y program has been running for over 20 years in our community. It operates from the beginning of September through to June with over 700 students participating in it each year. Having the opportunity to be involved with P.A.R.T.Y and leaving the hospital each week knowing that I have made a difference in someone’s life, is extremely rewarding.

If you or someone you know is interested in volunteering for the P.A.R.T.Y program or you would like more information on P.A.R.T.Y please contact Lisa Doyle at lisa.doyle@ahs.ca.

Lisa Doyle is a Health Promotion Facilitator with Alberta Health Services and can be reached via e-mail: lisa.doyle@ahs.ca


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