Gaspard, who lives in the Mouton Cove area, is on a mission to come up with a program that teaches youth in Louisiana the dangers of drinking and driving. What she dreams about is pounding the idea that drinking alcohol and getting behind a wheel of a car, truck, tractor, boat, four-wheeler or any other moving craft is a deadly combination.
She wants students to begin learning this important fact in life as early as kindergarten and continue learning it until they graduate high school and beyond.
“My crusade all started because of the recent accident that killed a Kaplan young man last month,” said Gaspard. “Everyone wants to blame the bar for the accident because it stays open until 4 in the morning. The accident had nothing to do with what time the bar closes. It is personal responsibility. The place to start teaching the dangers of driving and drinking is at home and with education.”
. Blaming those who sell alcohol to the people who get in accidents is not right, she said.. She said the person who should bear the responsibility is the one who chose to get behind the wheel of a vehicle and drive.
Gaspard said students in Vermilion Parish are taught the dangers of drinking and driving during D.A.R.E., which is taught to students in middle school. The person who teaches D.A.R.E. also educates the students on the dangers of using drugs.
Gaspard, who is a parent of six children, wants a program that concentrates just on the dangers of using alcohol. She did her homework on the Internet in search of educational programs that are already on the market. She found a few programs and combined them to create one.
She and a friend came up with a name for the program : L.E.A.D.D. (Louisiana Education Against Drunk Driving).
The program tells kindergarten students that alcohol is the villain and the dangers it does to the your body. By high school, students can get a feel of what it is like to drive drunk by wearing fatal vision goggles and driving a golf cart around cones at the school.
She approached the Vermilion Parish Police Jury earlier this month and got their support. She’s also applying to the state for a 501-C-3 Tax Exemption status. Once that is approved, she then will seek out finances to support the program. Not until she has all of her ducks in a row will she approach other parish officials about starting up L.E.A.D.D.
“Because we live in Cajun Country, drinking is seen as part of our daily lives,” she said. “Drinking is a way of life. Our kids see that. We need to change that way of thinking or else we will continue to have drinking and driving problems. The best way to change that way of thinking is by educating our children early about the dangers of drinking and driving.
“This program will do that.”