My classmate and friend Vanessa Wolff was one of the most gorgeous people inside and out. She always had the biggest smile on her face and was full of life. Vanessa had recently finished her undergraduate degree and was engaged when a tragedy took her life. Vanessa and her friend were killed by a drunk driver in October 2006 in Boca Raton, Florida. The news came as such a shock to parents, family and friends.
Three classmates and I decided to start a scholarship at our high school in Vanessa’s name. We created the Vanessa Lauren Wolff scholarship, and we hold fundraisers throughout the year to raise funds for the scholarship that is awarded yearly to a student through an essay contest on drunk driving. Through much support, we have been able to award a scholarship annually since 2009.
Working with MADD
Do you know that the number of DUI fatalities in Louisiana over the past five years is 1,449? I was blown away by this statistic.
The scholarship at Cabrini is a great way to make the current students aware of the dangers of drunk driving, but we wanted to make more of an impact in our city. While doing an online search to see if MADD (Mothers Against Drunk Driving) had a Walk Like MADD event here in New Orleans, it was brought to my attention that New Orleans actually doesn’t have a chapter. I decided to contact the regional office in Baton Rouge earlier this year, and we have now met monthly and have formed a New Orleans chapter.
Since MADD was founded in 1980 the number of drunk driving deaths have been cut in half! How amazing is that? A New Orleans MADD chapter is in the beginning process of development, and we are looking for new members. We meet the second Monday of each month at the Old Metairie Library at 6PM. A Walk Like MADD event is scheduled for April 2014, and we are looking for volunteers to help! I hope to see some new faces at the next meeting in an effort to help make a positive impact on the great city of New Orleans.
Mary is a stay at home mom to her sons, Noah (5) and Liam (1) and has been married to her high school sweetheart Clint since 2007. Mary is a graduate of the University of New Orleans, where she earned a Bachelor’s degree in Hotel, Restaurant and Tourism. Her son Liam is a micro preemie, and she is now passionate in the preemie community and the March of Dimes. Mary is also active with MADD (Mothers Against Drunk Driving) and is a co founder of the VLW Scholarship at her alma mater Cabrini High School in New Orleans, which awards a scholarship yearly in memory of their dear classmate who was killed by a drunk driver. Mary enjoys blogging about her family, New Orleans and all things preemie related on her blog at Micropreemie Mom.