OTTAWA – Operation Lifesaver, the public safety program that focuses on crossing and trespassing safety along Canada’s railways, and Key Clubs in Eastern Canada have teamed up to help young people reach their full potential in life, safely.
The initiative will be delivered through OL partners and volunteers and Key Club teenagers in 42 high schools and other secondary and junior high schools in Ontario, Quebec and Atlantic Canada.
It was announced today in Ottawa by District Governor Janie Charest-Lafleur, a 17-year-old from Trois-Rivières, Que. and Dan Di Tota, Operation Lifesaver’s national director, at the youth group’s convention attended by almost 300 young people.
Ms. Charest-Lafleur said their decision to approach Operation Lifesaver regarding the partnership on their district service project was not taken lightly. It occurred over the course of two years and reflected the fact that some of the members of the board knew students killed in Cambridge and Brockville accidents last year. “So the issues involve us directly and are relevant to the communities where we and our friends and families live. We can do something about it, and we will,” she said.
Between the two cars, the platform was wet. He slipped and started to fall forward. His backpack strap got caught on a rail and it twisted him parallel to the tracks.
So “luckily”, Sean says, he only got cut in half lengthwise, not crosswise. Sean thought they could just re-attach everything because he had seen stuff like that on TV. But it didn’t work like that. The youth has since described to other young people his grief and anger at himself for not having crossed the bridge or waited for the train, among the many choices he could have made that would have prevented his injury.
The teenager misses playing video games, said Mr. Di Tota. Sean’s driving license was taken away and many of his former friends have stopped spending time with him.
Still, Sean considers himself lucky he survived, since he almost bled to death on the tracks. Today Sean is helping other young Canadians understand the risks posed by trespassing on railway tracks and by cooperating with Direction 2006, Operation Lifesaver and SMARTRISK in telling his story and helping other youth learn to make smart choices.
Operation Lifesaver’s mobile classroom and interactive displays also proved a hit during the Ottawa youth convention. The specially-equipped mobile classroom “OLEV” has rolled more than 75,000 kilometres since its launch in mid-2004, and participated in 88 community events.
“More than 300,000 people have attended these functions from coast to coast and OL’s volunteers and partners have distributed more than 100 cases of safety literature,” said Mr. Di Tota. The public safety campaign is sponsored by the Railway Association of Canada’s members and partners, and by Transport Canada.
“OLEV has also provided millions of visual impressions as a moving billboard with its dramatic Look, Listen and Live message,” he said.
Key Club is the oldest and largest service program for high school students worldwide. Founded by Kiwanis International, Key Club today exists on almost 5,000 high school campuses throughout the United States, Canada, the Caribbean nations, Central and South America, and most recently Asia and Australia.
Membership tops 250,000 students. Key Club International is an organization of individual Key Clubs and is funded by nominal dues paid by every member. Its officers are high school leaders elected by the members at District and International conventions. For further information, contact www.keyclub.ca or www.operationlifesaver.ca.
Railway Association of Canada
Dan Di Tota
Key Club International