The response is always the same when 19-year-old Donald Slaney tells people he heads the Burin Peninsula chapter of MADD Canada.

Donald Slaney, founder of the Burin Peninsula chapter of MADD Canada, continues to deliver the message of the dangers of driving while impaired and urges residents not to get behind the wheel if under the influence of alcohol or drugs. 

“Are you a mom?” he recalled the host of a radio call-in show asking him when he phoned to promote an event by the organization.

The St. Lawrence teen was in Toronto recently to attend MADD Canada’s Nation Leadership Conference.

Slaney attended the three-day event the last weekend of September along with local committee members Sonya Kelly and Derrick Keating.

“The conference was a really rewarding experience, but it was also a very educational experience because MADD Burin Peninsula has only been an official chapter for the past seven months.”

Slaney said the conference offered workshops on recruiting and retaining volunteers, holding successful fundraising events and reaching out to victims and survivors.

He said the group is still new and it was important to have three members there, getting the most out of the sessions.

After seeing a presentation by MADD when he was 16, Slaney approached them to get involved. He was unable to do so because of his age.

He contacted them again two years later at the age of 18 and became a community leader.

“The role of a community leader is to recruit enough volunteers to start a group,” Slaney told The Southern Gazette on Tuesday.

He was motivated by the desire to educate the residents of the community and the surrounding areas to the dangers of driving while impaired. Slaney also had a personal reason for starting the group – an impaired driver injured a family member.

In February of this year, the group was officially recognized as a chapter of MADD.

Slaney said being recognized allows the group to run as a branch of the organization.

The group is preparing for several upcoming awareness efforts, including the Red Ribbon Campaign, which starts in November and runs until January.

As Slaney puts it politely, it runs during “the most social time of the year.”

A mock crash is also in the planning stages. The group hopes to present the event, titled “Grad Party Gone Wrong,” in April, just before many schools hold graduation functions.

Source: Southern Gazette


Last updated on: 2014-11-04 | Link to this post