NEENAH, Wis. (WFRV) – A pivotal program highlighting the dangers of risky driving behaviors celebrated its 25th anniversary on Wednesday.

The ThedaCare Trauma Center, with funding from the ThedaCare Foundation-Neenah and community support, has hosted an educational program at the Fox Cities Performing Arts Center named FOCUS, (previously known as P.A.R.T.Y. at the PAC).

The FOCUS program stands for:

  • Focus on driving
  • Others are affected
  • Clear distractions
  • Understand that substances impair judgment
  • Safely reach your destination

“As we celebrate the 25th year of the program, we are incredibly happy to welcome back students for the in-person events,” said Ray Georgen, MD, ThedaCare System Trauma Medical Director and one of the leaders who started the program. “We are grateful to be part of such a generous community that makes it possible to present FOCUS every year and help our teens understand the risks associated with driving, whether it distracted, drugged or drunk.”

Students from all over joined together to watch the program at the Fox Cities Performing Arts Center, showing students the process of a trauma situation, and what it’s like to be airlifted and need emergency surgery.

This year, 32 schools were represented, totaling more than 4,600 students.

“We hope everyone understands that when they get behind the wheel, they have a responsibility to protect themselves and others,” said Dr. Georgen. “If we can save even one life as the result of the FOCUS program, it is all worth it.”

What began in 1998 as a hospital tour, the program’s demand exceeded capacity and in 2005, the program ran at Theda Clark and at the Fox Cities Performing Arts Center.

Over the years, the presentation has evolved as new substances, distractions, and technologies continue to emerge in the communities.

Officials say that nearly 87,000 students have gone through the program since its debut in 1998.

For more information about ThedaCare’s FOCUS program, you can visit the hospital’s website here.