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MADD youth conference brings together students and entrails

North Kitsap High School sophomores Ashley Mueller, right, and Hannah Price get grossed out by the organs on display at MADD Kitsap County’s annual youth conference in the President’s Hall at the Kitsap County Fairgrounds Nov. 3. - Steven DeDual/staff photo
North Kitsap High School sophomores Ashley Mueller, right, and Hannah Price get grossed out by the organs on display at MADD Kitsap County’s annual youth conference in the President’s Hall at the Kitsap County Fairgrounds Nov. 3.
— image credit: Steven DeDual/staff photo

The President’s Hall at the Kitsap County Fairgrounds was full of kids, cops and human organs Tuesday afternoon.

It was the latest annual youth conference for the Mothers Against Drunk Driving Kitsap County branch.

For more than seven hours, approximately 100 students from secondary schools across the county watched presentations by people like Brian Moran, from the Attorney General’s Office, and Ricki Brooks, a victim of a drunk driver in Kitsap County.

Presentations were made dealing with topics ranging from law enforcement’s “The down and dirty of impaired driving” to “How the media influences us into buying certain products.”

“It is our hope that from this conference students will become more aware of drug and alcohol problems, and then be able to pass these lessons on to others and be good models for their peers,” said Marsha Masters, executive director of MADD Kitsap County.

The highlight of the day was the “Choice and Consequence...The Real Inside Story” presentation by two Snohomish County registered nurses, Colleen Williams and Marylou Hoidal, in which students were able to look at and actually touch real human organs.

Williams spent part of her time speaking to the group about experiences from her own life and how those experiences shaped her early years.

She told students of growing up with an alcoholic father and how his bad decisions in life trickled down into her own life, making it difficult for her to make good decisions.

“Everything around you can affect you and the decisions you make,” Williams said.

She also pushed the issue with students about stepping up to keep others around them safe by stopping friends from driving drunk. In fact, she elicited help from Josh Hoffman, a South Kitsap High School senior, bringing him up in front of the crowd.

“What are you doing?” Hoffman asked Williams.

“I’m going to show you how to take down a drunk person,” she replied placing her knee behind his illustrating how easily he would fall to the ground with no support from his leg.

The crowd of kids roared with laughter, but Williams’ point was made and each of the spectators understood the severity of the lesson.

“You always have the choice to do the right thing,” Williams said.

Upon completion of Williams’ mini-lecture, the students put on gloves and proceeded in a line along both sides of a long row of tables holding several human organs including a heart, lungs, a liver and a brain.

“It doesn’t even feel like an organ,” Shannara Hankinson, a Bremerton High School junior, said after touching the liver of an alcoholic. “It’s really gross.”

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