Troup County teens learn life lessons through maze - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

Troup County teens learn life lessons through maze

By Mackenzie Patterson - email

Troup County has some of the highest teen pregnancy and STD rates in the area.  To show teens how even some of the smallest decisions can change their lives, Troup County launched their first ever Teen Maze.

An ambulance rushes to the scene of an accident where one teenager is killed, another critically injured after joy riding while drunk – both situations that seem real, but these scenarios are part of Teen Maze, a life size maze that offers real-life choices.

Jane Gannon with the Troup County Health Department says they have been working on the program since 2010.

"[The goal is] to give as realistic life like situations as possible with the consequences. So it's to give the kids a hand on experience to experience this, but have to live it." 

Gannon says the emotional roller coaster will be open to local high school freshman this week, starting Wednesday. 

"9th grade is such a critical age.  You don't really know what you're supposed to do or what's acceptable and you're getting into high school where there's so many influences that you don't really know which ones the right way to go," says Katie Lehr, a high school senior.    

The students will go through different scenarios like drunk driving and choosing whether or not to have sex: each station of the maze leading to a different outcome, anything from having a baby, to jail even death. 

Parents had the chance to walk through the maze Tuesday, including N.P. Mutfwang, who said, "Get these kids at an early age acclimated to real life situations, scenarios so I really think so far so good.  You know everything, we've seen, nothing is staged.  They are trying to make this thing as real as possible," says Mutfwang.    

Gannon says the goal of the maze is to educate children at a critical age, how every decision can affect their future.

"If we can protect them and help educate them on making good choices or better choices then we've done our job."

Freshman will be able to go through the Teen Maze Wednesday and Thursday.  Gannon says the educational journey will be around every year.

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