Students from Springwood Elementary, with Oceanside RCMP youth officer Danielle Swanson, proudly show off the decorated bags they created as part of a campaign to discourage drinking and driving this holiday season. — Michael Briones photo

Students from Springwood Elementary, with Oceanside RCMP youth officer Danielle Swanson, proudly show off the decorated bags they created as part of a campaign to discourage drinking and driving this holiday season. — Michael Briones photo

Parksville Qualicum Beach elementary schools kick off ‘don’t drink and drive’ campaign

Youngsters decorate bags with personal messages

District 69 elementary students want everyone to have a merry, bright and — most importantly — safe Christmas holiday.

Youngsters from Springwood Elementary, Qualicum Beach Elementary, Nanoose Bay Elementary, Arrowview Elementary and Errington Elementary have embarked on a campaign to discourage people from drinking and driving.

The campaign is a bag-decorating program called ‘Think of Me’, a co-operative project between the BC Liquor Distribution Branch and ICBC.

Students in Grades 4-6 were asked to decorate one-bottle paper bags with personal messages that would encourage people to engage in libations responsibly this holiday season.

Oceanside RCMP youth officer Danielle Swanson said the core of the message is “don’t drink and drive.”

“They’re telling people not to do it and be reponsible during the holidays,” said Swanson. “Some of the messages they decorated on the bags are quite clever.”

Some of the bags, to be distributed to liquor stores in Parksville Qualicum Beach, contain colourful illustrations with well thought messages such as ‘Think of your kids, don’t pop the lid’; ‘Make sure you’re thinking before you start drinking, arrive alive’ and also some that highlight the name of a taxi company encouraging people to call a cab.

The liquor stores will hand out these bags to customers with their purchases. Swanson said they can be very effective in deterring people from getting behind the wheel under the influence of alcohol.

“The pictures drawn by kids have a thousand words,” said Swanson. “Just seeing it coming from kids kind of make you pause when you’re getting it and be responsible.”

Swanson said they have approximately 600 bags to hand to local liquor stores.

ICBC will draw the name of a participating school from a hat and the winning school will be treated to a pizza party.