Agencies team up to help young offenders understand the repercussions of poor choices

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BRYAN, Texas (KBTX) — Making mistakes at a young age is something many can relate to, but some mistakes can’t be taken back. Today, a group of 14 local youth who have been in trouble with the justice system discover the consequences that can come from just one choice.

The Texas A&M AgriLife Extension, the Brazos Valley Injury Prevention Coalition, and the Brazos County Juvenile Services Department hosted an event they call “A Night of Reflection.” This is being held at the Callaway-Jones Funeral Home where professionals shared their stories with the group.

This included the funeral home discussing the facial reconstructions they did after a serious accident, first responders and medical professionals saying they wished their minds could forget what their eyes saw, and a local mother who lost his son in a drunk-driving car accident.

Joel Hein, assistant director of community services for the Brazos County Juvenile Services Department, said the young people chosen for the class need to learn from these stories so they can make better decisions in the future.

“We all make mistakes, it’s a non-judgmental zone, we ask the kids to be very vulnerable and to open up and share some of these things, and then we try to encourage them ‘okay next time let’s try to do it this way and the result of the choice you make will be much better than before,” Hein said.

Many young people brought a tutor with them. It gave a connection when a mother of Bryan took the microphone.

“When Pam shares her story as a mother and what the grief and the loss of that is really like and the hurt and pain that goes on forever and I think that’s really where the impact comes in with the young people and with their parents who will be here tonight,” says Hein.

Pam Todaro is working with BVIPC to share her son’s story. He died in a car accident after making the decision to drive after having had a few drinks.

“Even though it’s been seven and a half years since I lost him, I’m often haunted by a lifetime of wonder at what might have been if he were still around,” Pam said, not only for her, but for the family he created before his death. “How would he be right now with family reunions, how would he be right now with his children who are now learning to live without him.”

His nightmares of that day surround the knock on the door from law enforcement.

“It was so hard for me to take that hit and look outside and see the police car in my driveway. At that moment my heart sank, my stomach hurt before I even heard their voices or their words, I knew it was not going to be good,” Todaro said.

But, behind this blow, there is also a person who announces this news to a mother or a father. sergeant. Justin Ruiz of the Texas Department of Public Safety said they were going in pairs to notify the family. It is to support each other and the family.

Ruiz said stepping into a family’s shoes is something soldiers struggle with.

“Even though this roadside accident investigation takes two hours, there’s still more to this investigation than notifying the family,” Ruiz said. “Some of us soldiers carry away these dead [incidents] personally because if it’s a little kid or a kid of any age or a parent or a grandma or a grandpa we all have that guy of people in our lives so it can hit a soldier in a way that they feel connected to the family because they were told that way or they have this family member who might be coming.

BVIPC runs driver education courses called Reality Education for Drivers. For course information, contact Mary Jo Prince at [email protected] or call 979-321-5225, or contact Pam Todaro at [email protected] or call 979 -321-5245.

The RED courses take place almost every week, while the Night of Reflection takes place twice a year. Young people who attend Night of Reflection are selected from the Youth Services Department.

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