Shaylene Hawthorn promoting Sober Ride in the halls of one of the local schools.
By Marianne Curtis
With the holiday season nipping at our heels, the founder of Sober Ride would like remind people to take a stand against impaired driving while out celebrating with family and friends.
A year and a half ago, Shaylene Hawthorn, from Ile Des Chenes launched a new initiative called “Sober Ride”. The twenty- five year old paramedic started the program with a goal to eliminate impaired driving one vehicle at a time by encouraging drivers to take the Sober Ride pledge. By joining Sober Ride, people take a pledge to not drink and drive. In addition, placing a decal in the window of their vehicle pledges said vehicle will always be driven by a sober driver.
“I have been affected by losses associated with drinking and driving so I am very passionate about this,” explained Hawthorn. “I want to eliminate drinking and driving one vehicle at a time.”
Since the program launched thousands of people have taken the pledge across Canada and the United States; and the general public is not the only ones paying attention. Handford has gained support and joined up as partner with organizations including the Manitoba Liquor Commission, MADD, Winnipeg Fire, RCMP, and Paramedic Service and Winnipeg Police Service. She has also spent countless hours at various schools education students on Sober Ride.
“We had a huge launch in our clothing line Sober Ride Wear with Pride as well as our side feature of Paramedics Against Impaired Driving with paramedics all over the province in support,” Hawthorn continued. “We have a growing donation fund to donate to places like MADD(which we made a previous when I signed as a board member with them); collected donations will be donated to families who are effected this holiday season.”
“Sober Ride” has also seen a huge increase on the Facebook fan page as well as made the radio, television and newspapers province wide plus received endless online support, Hawthorn noted.
Money raised from the sales of decals and clothing goes towards programs offered by MADD, victim services and memorials for families that have lost a loved one due to drinking and driving.
The “Sober Ride” initiative targets drivers of all ages, especially young adults. Hawthorn hopes to continue the success of the program by bringing it to the campuses of high schools and universities throughout Manitoba.