The annual teen reality fair returned to Polk County, teaching high schoolers about the choices and consequences they will face throughout life.

The Polk Teen Maze Event, lead by Polk Family Connection and other community partners, was designed to educate students about the many obstacles they may face in life, including alcohol, drugs, pregnancy, and distracted driving.

Ninth graders from Rockmart and Cedartown high schools gathered at Camp Antioch for the event. All students began the day with a real-life party experience and the possible events that follow after.

They were able to witness the arrest of a parent who hosted the party and allowed underage drinking, before the party was ended and students gathered outside at the scene of a car crash caused by teens driving under the influence of alcohol.

They then observed a realistic hospital enactment, where two teens died while the teen who caused the accident watched and was then arrested.

Each attendee received a booklet, filled with information to guide them through their journey for the rest of day. Although students did not get to make their own choices, and were instead given random scripts, they were able to experience the life-like consequences and were ultimately challenged to graduate and/or obtain a career without getting caught by the many consequences of their possible choices.

Attendees were reminded that although Teen Maze is a stimulated game, the choices they make in real life will certainly have a detrimental impact their school, family, and career futures.

Specific educational stops or obstacles on the students’ journey through the maze included the new addition of vaping, substance abuse, dating, sexually transmitted diseases, pregnancy, parenting, jail, court, funeral home, counseling, graduation, and careers.

Dozens of volunteers came together during the two-day event at Camp Antioch to bring the Teen Maze to life, and to ensure that no student walks away without thinking about what they saw.

Rhonda Heuer, the executive director of Polk Family Connection, appreciated all for their help to make the annual event happen.

“Many thanks to the Polk Family Connections partners for the commitment of their time and talent for our teens this week,” Heuer said. “I’m so proud of each one who worked hard to help share ways for them to make good decisions for a successful future.”

Those partners included Redmond EMS, the Polk County Coroner’s Office, the Polk County Sheriff’s Office, Polk, Rockmart and Cedartown Police, local nurses and many more.

Polk Family Connections can always use help throughout the year preparing for the upcoming 2020 Teen Maze. Contact Heuer at rhonda@polkcouncil.com to find out more about taking part, making a donation or more.

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