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Frank Ferry: 'Evening of Remembrance' at Youth Garden April 13

Live from City Hall

Posted: April 4, 2009 11:21 p.m.
Updated: April 5, 2009 4:55 a.m.

The Youth Grove features individual pillars that mimic cut trees - each individual stump a tribute to a life cut short by irresponsible driving.

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Teenagers often do a number of things that put their lives in danger, including irresponsible driving.

Vehicle crashes are still the leading cause of death for U.S. teens, with drivers ages 16 to 19 four times more likely than older drivers to crash.

Although Santa Clarita is undoubtedly a safe city, the 73 names of those "forever young" presented in the city's Youth Grove serve as somber reminders that we have lost too many kids on our roads due to reckless driving, and we have to do something about it.

The city of Santa Clarita, the Blue Ribbon Task Force and I would like to invite the community to attend the fourth annual Evening of Remembrance at the Youth Grove in Central Park on Monday, April 13, at 7:10 p.m.

The event is free and open to the public. It will focus on the importance of safe driving and the remembrance of local youth who have lost their lives in traffic-related collisions.

The "Evening of Remembrance," scheduled before local prom nights and graduations, reminds our teen drivers to make responsible choices as they celebrate these important rites of passage.

The evening will be highlighted by the reading of the 73 names at sundown and will feature additional short readings, poems and songs by community youth.

Glow sticks will be provided to attendees to represent candles that will be "lit" in honor of these kids we have lost, some as young as 7 years old.

The community will then participate in a vow signifying the promise that no more lives will be lost to recklessness behind the wheel.

Whether they knew an individual represented at the Youth Grove or not, I strongly encourage parents to attend and bring their teens along for this eye-opening experience.

A variety of reasons and distractions caused the deaths of the 73 kids at the Youth Grove.

Some of them were killed by a drunk driver they happened to share the road with. Some were drinking and driving themselves.

Some were speeding or fell asleep at the wheel. Some were texting or using a cell phone while driving, or took their eyes off the road for just a second.

Some kids were passengers and did not have control of the wheel.

Whatever the reason may have been, the Youth Grove and the Evening of Remembrance bring home the point that these tragedies can happen to anyone, but can certainly be prevented - by constantly talking to our kids about making the right choices and about the possible consequences of their choices and these choices' effects on families and others.

Most importantly, we need to be good role models to our teen drivers - always!

For those who have not yet seen the site, the city's Youth Grove features individual pillars that mimic cut trees - each individual stump a tribute to a life cut short on the road.

The pillars surround a central monument featuring the "Know more, no more" vow urging the community to increase its knowledge about safe driving habits and to pledge to put an end to young lives being lost because of drinking and driving or making reckless and irresponsible choices behind the wheel.

Our children are our most precious gift, and it is up to us to protect and guide them.

As local teens begin their journey through life and begin to set out on their own, continue to remind them of the importance of responsibility, making the right choices and care on the road.

Attend the Youth Grove Evening of Remembrance with your teens and join the city and the community in a pledge to know more about safe driving and to vow that no more Santa Clarita youths' lives will be cut short on the road.

Central Park is located at 27150 Bouquet Canyon Road in Saugus. For more information on the Youth Grove, please call Tess Simgen, community services analyst, at (661) 250-3731 or visit

Frank Ferry is mayor of the city of Santa Clarita. "Live from City Hall" is a column provided to The Signal by the city of Santa Clarita. His column reflects his own views and not necessarily those of The Signal.


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