Who we are

The P.A.R.T.Y. program was developed by an Emergency Nurse in Toronto, Ontario in 1986, through a request by teenagers in the area.  Astute teens were seeing the growing number of young people, their peers, being injured and/or killed because of risk-taking behavior and suggested that there should be something to educate teens BEFORE the injury happens.

In June 2007, Vicky Fitzgerald and Johanna Cunningham met in a women’s Bible study group at Lakeside Church in Folsom and talked about starting a program to teach youth the dangers and consequences of risky behavior. They were seeing too many teens getting into trouble and wanted to do something to help prevent the growing problem. The two women had heard of a Canadian program that helps teens learn about injury prevention so Vicky went to Canada to find out more about it. She discovered a successful and community-supported program that has expanded to over 100 sites around the country. Shortly after her trip, the two women purchased the rights and launched the program in 2009 in three counties — El Dorado, Placer and Sacramento. Amazingly, the Folsom P.A.R.T.Y. program was only the 3rd one in the entire United States (the other two chapters were located in Wisconsin and Colorado which have since started 2 more programs in each state).

From June 2007 to the Fall of 2009, Vicky and Johanna did an amazing amount of work getting local fire and police departments to collaborate on this program, speakers, equipment, space at Mercy Hospital in Folsom, funding from Mercy Hospital and others, donated office space and furniture, a program brochure and high schools to sign up their students all with limited volunteer help. They gained valuable media exposure through articles in Style Magazine and the Folsom Telegraph newspaper and kept on persevering. Everyone who hears about P.A.R.T.Y. is grateful for their long hours and dedication.

In the Fall of 2010, more moms got involved and knew a media blitz was needed to market the amazing program throughout the area. KCRA did a feature story and the SacBee, Village Life newspaper and Serrano magazine published articles highlighting two women who had been hit by a drunk 19 year old while riding their bikes on a Wednesday morning, and were now helping the Folsom PARTY program. Kathi Sturgeon suffered a Traumatic Brain Injury and teaches students some of the basic skills someone has to relearn after a TBI and Kathy Hurd had a broken back and does fundraising for the program.

Since the first program in the fall of 2009, more than 1200 students from Oak Ridge, Folsom and Vista Del Lago high schools have participated in the program. The founders and their growing group of volunteers want every high school student in these counties and beyond to see the program so they’re on a mission. In order to expand as fast as they can locally, they have asked Marshall and Sutter Roseville Hospitals to start new programs. Both hospitals agreed and hosted their first programs in April 2011 which will triple the number of students served annually to 3000 teens. Other hospitals are now being asked to host programs as the demand outweighs the available program space with requests coming in from Sacramento, Stockton and Fresno as well. These women hope to inspire more stay-at-home moms to start programs because teaching our teens about distracted driving will make the roads we share with them safer for all of us day and night. And teaching them about the consequences of all the other risky behaviors, will keep more of us parents from getting that dreaded knock on the door from a police officer that their son/daughter has been in an accident.