Teen Maze – Volunteer Information
MOULTRIE — Will your path in life lead to jail time, poverty, graduation or unplanned pregnancy? These are scenarios that ninth-graders at C.A. Gray Junior High had to face during this year’s Teen Maze Thursday morning.
Katrina Bivins, the CEO of the local Hope House, said the event started in 2012 but this is the first Teen Maze held since 2019. The event was canceled in 2020 and 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The event’s goal is to help teach students not to adhere to peer pressures they might experience in life and to learn self-worth through scenario booth stations, Bivins explained at the event.
“We want our students to have a successful and healthy future,” she said.
The students are one step closer to that goal after going through life experiences and consequences at Teen Maze.
Students are immediately faced with life choices while entering the maze. They receive a Teen Maze booklet where they can document their outcomes, and one group is transported to jail by a Colquitt County Sheriff’s Office deputy while the others learn how sexual activity might affect their lives.
Before going to another booth, the students have to draw their next “life experience” which sometimes includes financial issues.
Eric Hall and Mary Jane Alonzo from Ameris Bank taught students the process of applying for a loan.
Hall said students visiting the booth learned about loan options and how to pay off debts they acquired from other booths such as probation or hospital bills.
“If they’re approved for the loan, the students have to return to fill out a check and make monthly payments,” Hall explained.
The booth tellers said some students were surprised when they asked for payment back.
Other students encountered unplanned pregnancies and had to learn parenting skills with Caroline Horne, the CEO and executive director of United Way of Colquitt County.
“We have been running this booth for five years, and we tell students how expensive parenting is,” Horne said in an interview.
The new “parents” are taught skills like how to swaddle a baby, how to place a baby in a car seat and how to hold the child with lifelike, realistic baby dolls. They are also taught and provided pamphlets about formula versus breastfeeding, shaken baby syndrome, colic babies, postpartum and delivery methods.
Horne and Becky Giddens said, “It costs approximately over $250,000 to raise a child with only the basic necessities.”
Other students learned how one inappropriate post or video on social media can impact their future with Hero House representatives Karin Sanderson, administrative assistant, and Denise Pope, victims advocate.
“Social media can work both ways and affect everyone,” Sanderson and Pope shared.
While students moved on in the maze, April Hancock acted as a judge and handed out sentences.
“You will receive 12-month probation and community service. I don’t want your parents to help pay your fines so you must obtain a job at the career station,” Hancock said to a student as she hit her gavel.
Outside the maze, Hannah Rob with the Georgia Children Safety Team showed students what distracted driving can lead to as they exhibited a wrecked vehicle.
Rob said the drivers were under the influence of drugs and had warrants when they wrecked during a high-speed chase.
The students continued on through the maze learning about sexually transmitted diseases, career options and health care. Volunteers with local churches held a funeral home booth and spoke to students about how life can abruptly end.
The ultimate goal is for students to go through the graduation station. Bivins plans for Teen Maze to return as an annual event next year.
See full article on Moultrie Observer’s website – https://www.moultrieobserver.com/news/local_news/ninth-graders-face-life-choices-at-c-a-gray-s-teen-maze/article_f0b1633e-459b-11ed-ab63-e74e0f1b616f.html