Be the DD and Win!

June, 2015

“Be the DD and Win!” is a program that started in Ventura in 2011. Project SAFER — with collaborating organizations including Straight Up, Ventura PD and Ventura Improv Company — has developed this interactive event that identifies and rewards designated drivers.

“Be the DD and Win!” has had such a positive impact on Ventura that the it has spread throughout Ventura County to include Thousand Oaks, Camarillo and Simi Valley.

On scheduled nights, the high-energy Prize Posse travels to nightspots, offering swag and information. Designated drivers are identified and issued a wristband, which is then used in prize drawings throughout the evening.

Designated drivers show off their wristbands at a recent event in Thousand Oaks.

Ventura Improv Company has been involved since the start; not only providing tickets as giveaway prizes, but providing talent, as well — some of our performing VIC members have been enthusiastic Prize Posse members.

Be the DD - Soft Launch event 6/24/11
The original Prize Posse in Ventura in 2011, including VIC performers Veronica, Talia and Jeff (third, fourth and fifth from left)

Improv as a tool for making positive social change has been happening for years in Ventura County. VIC performer Katherine Kasmir developed Straight Up — a youth development program that works with young people — using techniques including social change theatre and Theatre of the Oppressed. Called “Reality Improv,” Straight Up addresses serious social issues (such as alcohol or drug use, impaired driving, and more) and promotes healthy living by creating interactive projects with young people, parents, educators and other community members. A popular program started by Straight Up is the “Reality Party for Parents,” in which teens perform an improvised and scripted performance at a simulated party.

Reality Party TO 11/15/14
Teens reenact a drinking game during a recent Reality Party for Parents in Ventura County.

Straight Up started in 2005 with Katherine, as well as Becky Haycox and the late Jim Kasmir (also long time performers and teachers the VIC) and the program is still going strong in the County.