SALUDA COUNTY, S.C. (WJBF) – Organizers in Saluda County come together to speak to students about some of the dangers they may face on prom night.

This big community effort is aimed at encouraging young people to engage in responsible behavior before, during and after their high school prom.

The Prom Promise event began with a mock crash scene involving student actors and first responders.

“If the children knew that it wasn’t just about them,” said Kattie Hallman, Pier Officer with Saluda County EMS. “It’s not just them that they’re hurting- we hoped that that would give them something to look at and think twice about going out and driving distracted or driving drunk.”

South Carolina Highway Patrol reports nearly 300 fatal car wrecks already this year. They say, on average, about fifty percent of those crashes are DUI related.

“Call us,” said Jacob Starnes, director at Saluda County EMS. “We’d rather come give you a ride than pick you up in an ambulance, you  know. I’ll be off- I’ll be glad to pick anybody up. Call somebody- call anyone.”

Eleven agencies, as well as teachers and administrators, came together to make this year’s Prom Promise possible.

Master Trooper Brandon Bolt tells us South Carolina Highway Patrol’s goal is target: zero.

“When we say it takes a village to raise a child,” said Bolt. “These are a bunch of young adults in here. Honestly, it takes a community just to try to save one life. And that’s what we’re working towards- saving lives.”

“As a parent, you don’t want to sit up and worry,” Bolt added.

In January of 2020, Brandi Black’s son, Drayton, was killed in a crash.

The Saluda County High School student is remembered for his big heart.  

“We experience a lot of excitement and we don’t have to have drugs or alcohol or any of that to do so,” said Black. “And in the big picture, you know, we want to have memories- good memories- of the prom. And great experiences…and great pictures. So, have fun but make good choices while you’re doing it.”

Black says she hopes this year’s Prom Promise will save lives. 

“The thing that keeps coming to my mind is…I didn’t tell him I loved him,” said Black. “No matter what, whether you’re frustrated or happy, hug your children and remind them that there’s nothing that they can do that’s going to make you love them any less.”

Organizers of Prom Promise in Saluda County say they plan to have this event happen annually-eventually offering one-on-one interaction with the students as well.