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‘Teen Day in LA’ mixes fun with underage drinking, texting issues

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By Denyse Clark

A special day of family fun and firm discussions of underage drinking is planned for Lancaster’s teen population by city leaders, educators and law enforcement. 

“Teen Day in LA” is 4 to 9 p.m. April 5 at the University of South Carolina Lancaster’s Carole Ray Dowling Center, 509 Hubbard Drive. 

This event, for teens ages 13 to 19, was jointly organized by Lancaster Police Department, See Lancaster SC, USCL, Coalition for Healthy Youth, Counseling Services of Lancaster, the Lancaster County Sheriff’s Office and S.C. Highway Patrol.

“Teen Day in LA is designed with the Lancaster teenager in mind,” said Caroline Hasty, the city’s events and promotions manager. “April 5 is set aside to celebrate our teens, while, at the same time, encouraging them to be wise in making every day choices.”

Hasty said several activities, including driving simulators, are planned.

“We will have driving simulators that will safely give them (teens) the experience the effects of speeding, texting and drinking has on their driving,” she said. “Parents are invited, too, and will be asked to spend their time inside the Carole Ray Dowling building where refreshments will be served as well as education on taking care of their teens.”

Donna Herchek, Coalition for Healthy Youth chairwoman, said the agency has been working closely with law enforcement and plans to focus on the dangers of underage drinking and driving.

“Our coalition has been actively working to reduce teen drinking and DUIs,” she said. “Through Teen Day, we hope to offer information on the laws and underage drinking. We hope to provide a safe place for teens to have fun and provide information to teens and their parents about underage drinking and distracted driving.”

Lancaster Police Department Lt. Jeff Meeks said law enforcement officers are looking forward to the opportunity to share information about distracted driving, negative behaviors behind the wheel and to seriously remind teens not to text while driving.

“Our job, basically, is to bring awareness,” Meeks said. “We'll have the driving simulator for them to see what it's like to drive impaired and they’ll experience the steps we’ll go through if they’re caught driving impaired. Hopefully, they’ll never have to actually go through these steps.” 

Meeks said S.C. Highway Patrol will provide equipment for teens to experience the “rollover” effect of a car crash.

The first 500 teens to arrive will get a free T-shirt and Teen Day wrist band. Hasty is proud the city of Lancaster is able to participate in presenting this important event to local teens.

“We want them to know how special they are to us and how our future is in their hands,” Hasty said.

 

Contact reporter Denyse Clark at (803) 283-1152