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Life is what happens next: Brooks

Maidstone High School has a population of about 200 students and over a quarter of them proudly wear the orange and blue.
Kevin Brooks was at Maidstone High School last week speaking about making wise decisions.

Maidstone High School has a population of about 200 students and over a quarter of them proudly wear the orange and blue.

School colours are blue and white and red and all 200 don those colours on occasion, but the elite 25 per cent in orange wear it to show their membership in SADD, Students Against Driving Distracted.

A large portion of the group attended a Canadian Youth Against Impaired Driving (CYAID) conference in Regina last spring and were inspired by Kevin Brooks and his message. Brooks grew up in British Columbia skateboarding, snowboarding and listening to punk rock. He drove fast and enjoyed partying.

Today Brooks travels around North America talking to young people about making good choices. He didn't make good choices, he drove, fast, while impaired. A friend died and Brooks is confined to a wheelchair. He reminds audiences to take nothing for granted, to make good choices, to wiggle their toes. He can't wiggle his but he is a strong, independent young man who reaches crowds with his story, his honesty and his heart.

Maidstone High School students and Grade 6 students from the elementary school welcomed Brooks to their gym Friday. Brooks used music and video to enhance the story, but even when the power went out before the end of the multi-media presentation his presence and voice was enough to finish strongly, getting his messages out to the students.

He hopes others will learn from his mistakes and make better decisions than he did.

"I'm sitting in this chair because of stupid, reckless choices. I wouldn't make those choices now, but I'm still sitting in this chair."

Brooks has good days and dark days. but he promised the students he'll never quit and begged them "please never quit."

To him good decisions include deciding to live and he spoke about accidents and suicides being killers of young people that are preventable.

It hasn't been easy for Brooks. He deals with guilt over the death of his friend and during his recovery had to re-learn everything including breathing and showering. He reminded the young people they are loved and can make good decisions.

"Life is not so much about what happened, it's what happens next," he said.

When he takes the stage Brooks has three empty chairs sitting beside him. The chairs are for friends who've died, who don't have a voice in the story but are part of Brooks' story.

Brooks' voice is loud and clear and students in Maidstone were there to listen.

For more information about Brooks and his presentations visit

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