Every 15 Minutes: Life is precious

After each secret Every 15 Minutes meeting, I wondered how the presentation would manage to be impactful. With everyone’s busy schedules, we never had full attendance and struggled to take the meetings seriously, often joking around in the back of the room.

However, on the day of the car crash scene, I felt that energy change. As a new person “died” every 15 minutes, we’d see a familiar face walk into the room we stayed in, not to see anyone else for the next 24 hours. The program leaders took our phones, leaving us with only each other to talk to and pass time. We bonded over games and spoke to a California Highway Patrol officer, learning about his experience with distracted driving accidents.

Later in the day, we all wrote a letter to a loved one about our experience and what we learned. While I didn’t technically “die” in the program, I wrote a letter to my parents talking about what I learned from being on the sidelines: life is precious and the decisions we make have the ability to help or hurt others. 

We all took turns sharing our letters, what we learned, and why we chose to participate in the program. It was at this point that we all truly felt the magnitude of the program. Almost everyone was in tears by the time the last person shared, and we learned how alcohol, drugs, and distracted driving has affected each other in different ways. Instead of joking around, we listened to each other and processed our heavy emotions.

During the funerals, I surprised myself by shedding a few tears. After forming friendships with the other participants in the program, I could tell how the program had changed their outlook on drunk driving. What struck me the most was our guest speaker who was a survivor of a drunk driving collision. Hearing and seeing how much she lost because of one person’s decision to drink and drive taught us a powerful lesson. 

I was proud to see that despite my initial skepticism, we made an impact on students who were watching the assembly. When we looked into the crowd, we saw teary eyes and knew that our message reached them. In our efforts to discourage distracted driving and driving under the influence, I learned how one bad decision can cost lives.

13 thoughts on “Every 15 Minutes: Life is precious

  • May 1, 2022 at 7:08 pm
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    I was a part of the every 15 minutes program so this may be a little bias, but this program really affected my outlook on driving under influence of any substance. Watching my friends be carted away on a stretcher just 20 feet away from me was a sight i will never forget. I hope others were affected the same way i was. And i will carry this passion against drinking and driving forever.

  • April 27, 2022 at 11:07 am
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    I loved that you shared this. Giving students the perspective of someone that was actually part of the program. I am also happy that you and everyone in that program working together was able to bond and learn something new yourselves. You guys were awesome in Every 15 Minutes and I’m thankful for your guy’s participation and your efforts to help change the minds of the youth.

  • April 27, 2022 at 10:58 am
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    It is very interesting to hear about your perspective on E15 as you were actually a part of it. E15 was definitely very impactful as it showed the effects of drunk driving in a very hitting way as the presentation included people that we know from school. I hope that people become more aware of their actions after seeing it.

  • April 27, 2022 at 9:28 am
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    I thought that this was very interesting to watch. On the first day of the assembly I didn’t really get what way going on, especially from the angle I was at. But seeing it happen close up on the second day really made me emotional. I applaud all the actors in this assembly. Their acting made it seem realistic. It is disappointing that people still drink and drive daily. Even with all the warnings. I hope that someday people will stop drunk driving.

  • April 27, 2022 at 8:31 am
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    Listening and reading the story of someone in the every 15 minutes program is very interesting because i never knew that they were actually taken away into a room. I’m glad that they got to bond with games and group conversations. I’m also glad that the every 15 minutes has made a huge impact on them and throughout the following years of their life.

  • April 26, 2022 at 11:11 am
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    When the “fake” funeral happened in the every 15 minutes program, I shed a few tears from how devastating it was. It was extremely powerful, and the message came across to me. I could tell from the audience that everyone was doing the same thing. The message came across, and it is good because we need more people to understand the stakes. It is dangerous to drink and drive, and I hope more students at Castro Valley High learn that.

  • April 26, 2022 at 8:27 am
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    The “every fifteen minutes” program was a step forward into showing the deadly effects of driving under the influence. Many teens and adults need to realize that they aren’t only risking their own life while driving not sober but they are also risking the life of everyone near them. The program and actors did a great job showing the realities of driving under the influence.

  • April 14, 2022 at 8:17 pm
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    It is very interesting to hear what people who were involved with every 15 minutes say about how much it changed their perspectives on life and how they reflected on it.

  • April 13, 2022 at 3:08 pm
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    having the Every 15 Minutes Program at schools is so beneficial. People don’t realize how big of an effect their actions can have unless they are given an option to step back and reflect about it. Even if this program only changed one person’s life, it is okay because that means one less accident in the world.

  • April 13, 2022 at 2:34 pm
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    It’s great that we can hear from members of the program about what working on it what like, since the movie and the two assemblies must have been an emotional thing to work on knowing what they were about.

  • April 13, 2022 at 12:26 pm
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    I think this program really helped people, showed them a new light, and save their own lives and others by not drinking and driving. I think that it’s scary that this can happen to anyone, but even just watching the funeral part really just shook my world and gave me chills.

  • April 13, 2022 at 7:56 am
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    Very interesting hearing your perspective as a student involved in the program!

  • April 13, 2022 at 7:46 am
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    I think it is good that this program helped some (hopefully most) people take a step back and realize the effect that impaired driving can have on other people. It is important to remember that your actions do not only impact you and that you can hurt other people, even if you don’t intend to or think you will.

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