“It’s the faces of the children that I can’t get out of my mind.”
– Bill, retired fire fighter
“The good news was that our 19-year old daughter died instantly.”
– Mother of Cyndi.
“I do this because I’m trying to make a difference – making something negative into a positive.”
– Jeff, who killed someone drinking and driving and served a 15-year prison sentence for the crime.
The speakers are the heart and soul of the Victims’ Impact Panel program and are giving the ultimate gift by sharing their painful tragedies with a room full of strangers. Without these dedicated speakers, there would be no program at all. Because VIP speakers are so valued, we make sure that their service with us is positive and respectful. Many, if not all, of our speakers report that their experience with VIP is positive and that they feel they have made a difference and possibly saved lives.
Victims’ Impact Panel of Oklahoma, Inc. (VIP), believes in aiming at the heart to reach people about the dangers of driving under the influence. This is accomplished by having a panel of three speakers share their personal and very real tragedies, thereby giving a name and a face to the pain. The three perspectives presented include:
- The Victim: This is either someone who has lost a family member to an impaired driver; someone who survived a wreck caused by an impaired driver; or someone whose loved one was permanently disabled or injured by an impaired driver.
- The Rescue Professional: This viewpoint can come from law enforcement, firefighters, or ambulance paramedics. These are people who are emotionally impacted by what they see and deal with at DUI crash scenes, regardless of the fact it is their job.
- The DUI Offender: This is someone who has killed or severely injured someone while driving under the influence and has served time for the crime.
What is Expected of VIP Speakers?
The speakers are asked to tell how a tragedy involving impaired or distracted driving has impacted their lives. It is helpful to share who else has been affected and how. Notes may be used to prevent losing train of thought. Visual aids are helpful, such as photographs of the deceased, crash photos, death certificate, or any other mementos that help tell the story. Panelists are encouraged to speak from the heart and becoming emotional is to be expected. Genuine emotion is a great communicator and only emphasizes the seriousness of the experience.
How to Become a VIP Speaker
If you have been affected by an impaired or distracted driving crash and would like to share your story on a Victims’ Impact Panel, please contact one of our offices for a program in your area.
Make a Donation to VIP
Donations allow us to update school equipment and supplies (projectors, other audio-visual equipment, posters, forms, etc.); produce new videos; show appreciation to our volunteer speakers at a speaker appreciation dinner; and expand the program to even more locations in an effort to combat impaired driving.