Since I was featured in MADD’s “adopt and advocate” campaign, I’ve been getting closer to my 15th work anniversary with MADD. Mothers Against Drunk Driving is a great place to work, not just for its mission but for the commitment we each have to eliminate drunk/drugged driving.

Not so long ago our service area went from 10 counties in Texas to 34. This includes Harris County –  known as the drunk-driving capital in the United States based on the number of alcohol-related fatalities.  This has created the need for more volunteers and the need to fight even harder to service all in the area, especially those from underserved populations.

I have, along with the other Victim Advocates, continued to do outreach in the community in order to identify new victims and survivors and help prevent drunk and drugged driving.  In addition, I’ve worked in the community to connect with other organizations all over our service area that can help victims and survivors. I’ve connected with key community personnel involved in all the phases of a drunk driving case from first responders to criminal and civil attorneys and those who help through the grief journey.

Victim Impact Panels have been a central part of my work too, as a tool for victims and survivors to share their stories in a meaningful way and help with their grief journey. It gives the victims and survivors the opportunity to talk about their victimization and gives me the chance to meet them in person and see if they require more services.  At the same time, we are providing offenders enough information so that they do not see it as an option to get behind the wheel if they are intoxicated.

Volunteer recruitment has been vital.  We can’t do all the work; we need the helping hand of those who are willing and have time to help us with our mission.  MADD has many volunteer opportunities. We’re willing to work to find a place for anyone that wants to be involved.

Last but not least, our recent Walk Like MADD event was a success. The services I have been able to provide have helped me connect the victims and survivors to each other for peer support. Law enforcement, victims, mothers, brothers, cousins, and friends all walked in solidarity in our fight against drunk and drugged driving.

I fight so drunk driving is eradicated soon. It is 100% preventable and it only takes one simple action to avoid it: Do not get behind the wheel after drinking alcohol or using other impairing drugs.