Disability and Drunk Driving: A New Concept for Community Service?

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One of the coolest orgs I get to work with is the Association for Higher Education and Disability (AHEAD), and one of the coolest people at AHEAD is Kim Probin. Often times, I’ll go to campuses for Disability Awareness Week or other disability programs, inspiring students with disabilities (and those without) to overcome their adversity, whatever their obstacles may be. This is usually separate from the alcohol awareness and DUI prevention programs I provide for college students.

But, thanks to Kim being such an innovative thinker, she recently managed to marry the two concepts together. I LOVE this idea and if there’s anyone who works in a non-for-profit who also has DUI offenders serving community service in their offices, please let me know and I’ll be happy to pass some books along to you. Who knows?! Kim may just be onto a new notion of impaired driving prevention! Here’s her note:

Hi Marcus!

The reason for this note is not about conference, exhibiting or anything like that. The purpose of this note is a couple of other things…

Last week, I received a phone call from a very nice girl named Annie. She is from Florida but now lives local here to the Charlotte, NC area. She was calling “non-profits” to see if she could find one willing to let her fulfill her obligation to do community service hours for the Department of Corrections. I was a little hesitant at first, but then found myself asking her some questions about her charges, how many hours she had to complete, etc. Annie went on to tell me that she was charged with a DUI last year when she was just 27 years old.

Maybe at one time, I wouldn’t have really thought about it too much. But, not this time… after all, I read YOUR story… now, there was a personal connection to this kind of thing for me. As we spoke on the phone about her charges, I found myself asking her if she had been in an accident, how they caught her, etc. Thankfully, she was not in an accident but she was caught speeding while intoxicated. She seemed to really focus on how much money this has cost her in fees, classes, fines, etc. I wanted to know though, did she REALLY learn the lesson in the “bigger picture?” During our entire conversation, my mind kept flashing back to your story. I kept thinking about how your life had changed and how I could make a difference so that this wouldn’t happen to someone else.

Finally, I spoke with Stephan and we agreed… we would allow Annie to fulfill her community service hours with us. She said she would clean the office, file, run errands, and that sort of thing. But, I thought there was a better use of her time. My goal was to have her leave AHEAD with more than cleaning experience. I wanted her to learn something… REALLY learn something from what she had done.

Marcus, as I write this, Annie is sitting in another office with nothing to do but read your story. I want her to feel the impact of what could happen to someone’s life because of a lack of judgment. I want her to realize that one moment is all it takes to change the entire course of someone’s, as well as her own life forever.

I hope that you are okay with this and that you agree with the way I have decided to handle things with Annie. I know that you go and speak to large groups at schools and to special interest groups all over the country. But, I also want you to know that your story will be passed on even if it’s one person at a time.

Thank you for being you!

Kim P.

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