Donors Support Teen Safe Driving Program

Sponsorships make events like P.A.R.T.Y at the P.A.C. happen

High school sophomores often look forward to the school year for the same reason their parents don’t: Soon, they’ll be brand new drivers.

The annual ThedaCare P.A.R.T.Y. (Prevent Alcohol and Risk Related Trauma in Youth) at the Fox Cities Performing Arts Center helps instill the knowledge that driving is a serious responsibility.

The program, sponsored by the ThedaCare Foundation-Neenah, wouldn’t be possible without support from its donors. Since 2009, the event received generous support from the Lamers Racing Driving Experience at Road America, a June fundraising event sponsored by Commercial Horizons, Inc., Faith Technologies, Inc. and McMahon Group of Companies.

Denny Lamers, owner of McMahon Group and founder of the Driving Experience, said he’s seen the impact of the ThedaCare event that emphasizes safe driving from survivors and others affected by a crash through his staff.

“I’ve got about 150 employees, and about 15 of them have had children go through P.A.R.T.Y. at the P.A.C.,” Lamers said. “It’s one of the most impactful events in their high school careers.”

The Driving Experience is geared toward supporting organizations that improve the lives of young people throughout the Fox Cities, and P.A.R.T.Y. at the P.A.C. fits nicely into that mission by demonstrating the danger of texting or driving under the influence.

“The traumatic impact of having a crash is missing on most kids,” Lamers said. “They’re not thinking of the consequences. P.A.R.T.Y. at the P.A.C. brings those consequences to bear in a very dramatic way.”

AAA Wisconsin, a presenting sponsor of the program, hopes the event continues to serve as both an eye-opener for new drivers as well as a conversation tool for their parents, said Nick Jarmusz, director of public affairs for AAA Wisconsin. “For the teens who will be experiencing the program, we hope that it’s a wakeup call for them to recognize what a serious responsibility driving is,” Jarmusz said. “And for parents, we hope it serves as a conversation starter for a much longer discussion about safe driving.”

AAA Wisconsin has advocated for teen driver safety through programs and legislation for more than 80 years, publishing a driving safety curriculum in 1935. In 2010, it launched teendriving.aaa.com/WI, a clearinghouse of information on teen driving for young drivers and their families.

More than 5,500 students from 35 schools from throughout the ThedaCare service area are expected to attend P.A.R.T.Y. at the P.A.C. this year Oct. 4 and 5.

For more than 100 years, ThedaCare™ has been committed to finding a better way to deliver serious and complex healthcare to patients throughout Northeast Wisconsin. The organization serves over 200,000 patients annually and employs more than 6,800 healthcare professionals throughout the region. ThedaCare has seven hospitals located in Appleton, Neenah, Berlin, Waupaca, Shawano, New London and Wild Rose, as well as 32 clinics in nine counties and the ThedaCare Regional Cancer Center in Appleton. ThedaCare is the first in Wisconsin to be a Mayo Clinic Care Network Member, giving our specialists the ability to consult with Mayo Clinic experts on a patient’s care. ThedaCare is a non-profit healthcare organization with a level II trauma center, comprehensive cancer treatment, stroke and cardiac programs as well as a foundation dedicated to community service.  For more information, visit www.thedacare.org or follow ThedaCare on Facebook and Twitter.