Nikos Theodosakis and Terry Kalaski look over an on-line program

Nikos Theodosakis and Terry Kalaski look over an on-line program

Penticton website engages youth on dangers of drugs and alcohol

A father and daughter sit down to do ecstasy together and it is just the way Penticton RCMP envisioned it.

A father and daughter sit down to do ecstasy together and it is just the way Penticton RCMP envisioned it.

That is, sitting behind a computer clicking on the choice of whether or not Mike, a character in an interactive web story, should take them through the paces of what an evening on the drug could be like. The Mike and Vicki Project is a choose-your-own adventure story following two high school youths as they plan their weekend and attend a bush party.

“A friend of my daughter’s who goes to Pen High said she and her father did ecstasy on the Mike and Vicki site. They saw what it led to and it started a conversation,” said Nikos Theodosakis, of Mind Festival Learning, who is one of the partners who created the project. “I think that was powerful to hear that it is being used that way.”

The user is put in the shoes of the characters, with graphic novel images taking them through different scenarios and the viewer making choices and discovering the consequences. The goal for the project is to provide an easy-to-use tool that can be a catalyst for educators, police, alcohol and drug workers, counsellors and parents to engage youth in conversation about drugs and alcohol. The scenarios that Mike and Vicki experience are drawn directly from real life situations.

“If you could just pause life and consider what to do next and the potential  consequences, this resource is about that. So, hopefully when kids come to a choice in their real life they might pause enough to consider that,” said Theodosakis.

The Penticton group behind rolled out the website earlier this week after spending almost a year designing the concept and getting valuable feedback from test groups.

“The teachers’ feedback was that an hour after we left, the kids were still talking about the resource. The teacher said that never happens. That told us that something is engaging them beyond the normal resource and not only do they like it and want to use it, they want to play parts in it. We knew then that we were on the right road,” said Theodosakis.

Access to the website and educational information on it is all free. Already the project group has seen web traffic from across the province, Alberta, Ontario, Montreal, New York and California.

Terri Kalaski, Penticton South Okanagan Similkameen community policing co-ordinator, said she wanted to make a product RCMP could use when they go into a classroom and have at their fingertips as a resource to use with a variety of age groups and on a number of topics.

“The kids using this develop a relationship with the characters. The cliché the medium is the message very much applies here. It is important this project was something kids could connect with otherwise they would blow it off,” said Kalaski.

Many students in the South Okanagan go through the RCMP D.A.R.E. program and the superintendent of schools for School District 67 believes the Mike and Vicki project can be easily implemented into that.

“The D.A.R.E. program sends the message around making positive choices and the negative impacts peer pressure has. This new resource certainly falls into that and could be a useful tool for educators,” said Hyer. “I think this works because it has a certain appeal that interests kids in social media versus parents lecturing. It is a creative way to send a message.”

Additionally, is a rich resource for youth, adults and facilitators supplying links to further information on drugs and alcohol, relationships and mental health. It was funded through the civil forfeiture program that provided Penticton RCMP community policing service with $19,200 last year to focus on awareness for youth and parents about drugs. The group behind it, including Interior Health, is going to be presented to the B.C. School Counsellors conference and at the Career Education Society.

Just Posted

This photo of the small wildfire burning above Naramata was taken at 8 p.m. on Thursday, June 17, 2021 (Monique Tamminga Western News)
UPDATE: Fire above Naramata is an illegal open burn

Smoke is still billowing from the blaze Friday morning

Rob and Anthony are the city’s new parking ambassadors who are sharing information with businesses and the public about the new pay parking. (Monique Tamminga - Western News)
Penticton hires team to inform people on city’s new pay parking system

The pair will spend at least a month helping businesses and residents navigate new pay parking system

The Greater Vernon Chamber of Commerce will host the Valley Wide Business Expo May 4 at Predator Ridge Resort. (photo submitted)
Golf raffle helps Okanagan families score homes

Habitat for Humanity Okanagan swinging into action this summer with a new raffle

Keremeos’ heritage Grist Mill and Gardens. (Brennan Phillips - Keremeos Review)
Keremeos Grist Mill looking forward to restrictions easing with exclusive concert planned

Juno Award-winning folk artist Valdy is set to take the stage

Bear wanders Kelowna on June 15. (Michelle Wallace/Facebook)
Bear climbs fence, uses crosswalk in Kelowna

The bear was spotted on Baron Road Wednesday evening

Hundreds of people, young and old, joined the three-day Walking Our Spirits Home procession, honouring residential school survivors, those who never made it home and all those affected by the institutions. Here people walk the third portion on June 13. (Martha Wickett - Salmon Arm Observer)
Walking Our Spirits Home from Kamloops provides path to healing

First Nations in and beyond Secwépemc territory join in to honour residential school survivors

A search is underway for David Borden in Oyama, since he was last seen Wednesday, June 16. (Contributed)
Search underway for missing Okanagan man

Vernon Search and Rescue, RCMP checking via land, water and air

A truck rolled several times off Highway 6 in Coldstream Thursday night, sending two to hospital. (RCMP photo)
Rollover near Vernon sends 2 to hospital

Highway 6 closed temporarily while emergency crews extricated occupants

Thousands of protesters make their way through the downtown core during a Black Lives Matter protest in Ottawa, Friday June 5, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
MPs’ study of systemic racism in policing concludes RCMP needs new model

Chair of the House public safety committee says it’s time for a reckoning on ‘quasi-military’ structure

A case filled with packages of boneless chicken breasts is shown in a grocery store Sunday, May 10, 2020, in southeast Denver. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-David Zalubowski
One million chickens euthanized during labour dispute at Quebec slaughterhouse

Premier says waste amounts to 13 per cent of the province’s chicken production thrown in the garbage

Premier of Manitoba Brian Pallister speaks at a news conference at the Manitoba Legislative Building in Winnipeg on Wednesday, April 7, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/David Lipnowski
Provincial leaders want more federal money for health care, plan to meet in fall

Premiers ask Ottawa to increase its share of overall health spending to 35 per cent from 22 per cent

A section of the eastern slopes of the Canadian Rockies is seen west of Cochrane, Alta., Thursday, June 17, 2021. A joint federal-provincial review has denied an application for an open-pit coal mine in Alberta’s Rocky Mountains, saying its impacts on the environment and Indigenous rights aren’t worth the economic benefits it would bring. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
Panel says Grassy Mountain coal mine in Alberta Rockies not in public interest

Public hearings on the project in southern Alberta’s Crowsnest Pass region were held last fall

Most Read