Teen Maze helps with life choices

RIVERDALE — Teens are invited to get found in a maze of life Saturday in Riverdale.

The Clayton County Board of Health’s Office of Coordinated Youth Services will host the Teen Maze from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Riverdale Centre at 7210 Church St.

Spokesman Joel Hall said the program is important because teenagers face potentially life-altering choices every day.

“(Our agency) and other community partners are helping teens learn how to make the right decisions by hosting an interactive Teen Maze,” Hall said. “Teens ages 12 to 19 are invited to participate in the maze, which will consist of numerous interactive stations where volunteers will recreate the consequences of positive and negative life choices.”

Each teen’s path will be different depending on chance, and counselors will lead an open dialogue with teens at the culmination of the maze activities to discuss what they have experienced, Hall said.

“This is a rare opportunity for the youth in Clayton County to get an immediate understanding of the impact their decisions can have on the rest of their lives,” Clayton County District Health Director Alpha Fowler Bryan said. “Positive or negative, teens have many difficult choices to make and this event will help put those choices into perspective.”

Stations will address topics such as pregnancy, sexually transmitted infections, parenthood, distracted driving, drug and alcohol use, hospitalization, incarceration, death, employment, budgeting and graduation.

There will also be a “party room” that will simulate the peer pressure situations teens often face in unsupervised group settings.

“The ultimate goal is for teens who participate in the maze to increase their chances of personal successes by eliminating risky behaviors,” Hall said.

Rolanda Patrick, Clayton Can Soar to the Top program manager for the Board of Health, said teens will learn the consequences of negative behavior but also the rewards of positive decisions.

“A wrong decision can have a devastating impact on a teenager’s life, even if the teen has made many positive choices in the past,” she said. “The Teen Maze is effective because it not only gives teens a chance to experience the consequences of negative behaviors such as unprotected sex and underage drinking — it also shows them the rewards of behaviors such as abstinence, self-restraint and studying hard to get into a good college or degree program.

“Those who participate in the maze will have fun, but they will also walk away with the knowledge that many decisions are final, and sometimes fatal,” Patrick added.

This year’s maze event will be hosted by radio personality Rashan Ali from 94.5 FM’s show, “The Streetz Morning Grind.”