Friday, October 22, 2010

when kids tell the story, kids listen

Colesville Patch reports that friends of Blake High graduate Kyle Lancon, who died in a car crash two weeks ago, are creating a foundation in his honor. They're also trying to have a memorial bench placed in Stonegate, where Lancon grew up.

"The main purpose is to let people know the seriousness of drinking and driving," [friend and classmate Dominic] DiPietro told Patch. "You're not only hurting yourself; you're hurting all your friends and loved ones."

This feels all too familiar to me - six years ago, when I was a senior at Blake, Alicia Betancourt died in a crash a few hundred yards away from school. Over the next nine months, countless speakers came to talk about driving safety, friends and family started a memorial 5K race - which almost collapsed for lack of interest five years later because no one at Blake knew her anymore - and her father, Dr. Betancourt, appeared on national television mourning his daughter's loss.

Meanwhile, it's Kyle's friends who are trying to turn a devastating loss into a beneficial message for their peers. It'll be much better received by their peers from them than it would from a parent or any other authority figure. And it's a much more compelling warning when it's about one of their peers, because even a girl who passed away six years ago is too distant for someone who just turned sixteen. The kids have to determine their own fate, not the adults.

I hope that young people in East County listen, so that this doesn't have to happen again.

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