Wednesday, July 30, 2014
Bonny Oaks area resident Tiki Finlayson, co-founder of local nonprofit 1N3, wants to change the sobering statistic that one in three people is affected by drunk driving.
When she discovered Catoosa County’s Teen Maze last year, she thought it was an event that could help change the statistic and wanted to bring it to Chattanooga.
A Teen Maze is similar to a life-size board game that allows teens to see firsthand the consequences of their choices. Through the event, volunteers from throughout the community come together to share vital information about health and educational issues with local teens.
“1N3 is all about networking together to make a difference in the community,” Finlayson said. “I thought, ‘Why can’t we do this in Chattanooga?’ We just have to get the community behind us to make it happen.”
Teens travel through the maze by drawing scenario cards or spinning a wheel that indicates a choice and determines their path. Maze paths are staffed by volunteers who play a role and present appropriate information for the path, with topics ranging from drinking and driving to teen pregnancy and parenting to education and career opportunities.
Volunteers from all areas of the community are needed to fill these roles in the Chattanooga Teen Maze, said Finlayson. Volunteers could come from the local juvenile court system, hospitals, colleges or other institutions focusing on health, education or rehabilitation. Even representatives from local funeral homes are needed.
Corporate sponsors are also necessary for the project. Catoosa County spent $30,000 on its first maze two years ago to cover the facility rental and purchase everything from T-shirts for volunteers to the graduation certificates all participants receive at the end of the maze.
Finlayson hopes to re-create the event in Chattanooga in April 2015.
In planning the Chattanooga event, the guidance from the Catoosa Family Collaborative that puts on Catoosa’s Teen Maze has been invaluable, said Finlayson. The Catoosa project was the brainchild of Phil Ledbetter, who recently shared his knowledge with interested members of the Chattanooga community at the Hamilton County Health Department.
“I was very blown away by the impact it had on the teens that do it,” Finlayson said of Catoosa’s Teen Maze.
To become involved in the Chattanooga event, contact Finlayson at 710-8754 or projects@iam1N3.org.