Our oldest child is graduating from high school tomorrow. My husband and I have had the pleasure of helping plan the Project Graduation Party. We are chaperoning, too, which will be a true test of how “young at heart” we are! During this process, we have learned about the history of Project Graduation, and found out it started in Maine!
In 1979, the Oxford Hills, Maine community experienced the tragic loss of 7 teenagers to drug or alcohol-related deaths. So, in 1980 the community organized a supervised party for graduating seniors, to provide a safe alternative to the temptation of drinking and driving. Since the project was a huge success, by 1986, Project Grad parties were being held in all 50 states. As the old saying goes, “As Maine goes, so goes the nation.” In 1990, Maine experienced no youth fatalities during the May 15 – June 20 commencement season.
Project Grad is traditionally planned by the parents with help and support from the community. The idea is to make this party more appealing than less-safe parties, so the first thing we do is raise lots of CASH! We held various fundraisers throughout the year. Raffles, bake sales, Bingo nights, yard sale, dinners, breakfasts, and plays brought in tens of thousands of dollars just in our local areas. Because of the success in saving kids’ lives, our community has been wonderful about supporting this project. Each student usually leaves the party early the next morning with a thick wad of money, a full stomach, and a smile.
Congrats to all of our Maine graduates! Have fun celebrating!
by Hollie McAfee
Assistant Marketing Director