About Us

Mission Statement

The basic mission of the Victims’ Impact Panel of Oklahoma, Inc. (VIP), is:  to prevent people from making dangerous choices; to reform offenders through awareness; and to promote healing in the panelists who participate.

. . . drunk driving awareness, prevention, and healing . . .

Victims’ Impact Panel of Oklahoma, Inc. (VIP)

What is VIP?

The Victims’ Impact Panel of Oklahoma, Inc. (VIP), is a powerful program aimed at combating drunk driving and driving under the influence of other drugs.  This program offers a unique perspective to the drinking or impaired driver, presenting in a very personal way the far-reaching effects of the choice to drink and drive.

Through “live” panel presentations, the audience experiences the impact of drunk or impaired driving through the eyes of:

A victim:  “The good news was that our daughter was killed instantly.”

A rescue professional:  “It’s the faces of the children killed by drunk drivers that you never forget.”

An offender:  “Not a day goes by that I don’t think about the lady I killed.  And it was all because I chose to drive after drinking.”

The Victims’ Impact Panel of Oklahoma, Inc., (VIP) is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization dedicated to reducing the epidemic of drunk driving.  Alcohol-related crashes take innocent lives and physically injure an alarming number of people daily.  They are the number one killer of our young people.  But unlike other serious epidemics, drinking and driving has a cure. The answer is found in those who are forever changed because of someone’s decision to drive after drinking.

Victims’ Impact Panel of Oklahoma, Inc., believes in aiming at the heart to reach people about the dangers of driving under the influence. This is accomplished by presenting a panel of three speakers who share their personal and very real tragedies, thereby giving a name and a face to the pain and devastation.  The three perspectives presented include:

The Victim:  This is either someone who has lost a family member to a drunk driver; someone who survived a wreck caused by a drunk driver; or someone whose loved one was permanently disabled or injured by a drunk driver.

The Rescue Professional:  This viewpoint can come from law enforcement, firefighters, or ambulance paramedics.  These are people who are emotionally impacted by what they see and deal with at a DUI crash scene, regardless of the fact it is their job.

The DUI Offender:  This is someone who has killed or severely injured someone while driving under the influence and has served prison time for the crime.

History of Victims’ Impact Panel of Oklahoma, Inc.

Victims’ Impact Panel of Oklahoma, Inc. (VIP), was founded on October 1, 1989, by VIP Executive Director Janella Tears.  It is Oklahoma’s original victim impact panel and has been court-recognized for over 29 years.  In order to legitimize VIP, legislation was passed in 1990, which allowed Oklahoma judges to order DUI offenders to attend a victim impact panel in which they would hear in-person the testimonies of those who have been directly affected by someone’s choice to drive under the influence.  It is not intended to be “punishment” for the DUI offender but rather a “wake-up call” about the consequences of bad choices.

Who are the Audiences?

Panels are presented on a regular basis to DUI offenders who have been court-ordered to attend.  Victims’ Impact Panel of Oklahoma, Inc. serves all 77 counties in the State of Oklahoma.  VIP programs are also presented in high schools and universities all through the school year.

VIP sees the program as being in a “win/win” situation.  Everyone benefits from the program.  With a mission statement of “. . . drunk driving awareness, prevention, and healing . . .” offenders are reformed through awareness; young people are prevented from making dangerous choices; and healing is promoted in the panelists who participate.

Who Attends VIP?

DUI Offenders

Anyone charged in the state of Oklahoma with the crime of driving under the influence of alcohol (DUI) or drugs (DUID), actual physical control of a motor vehicle (APC), and other alcohol-related crimes is court-ordered to attend a victim impact panel as a condition of probation.  Victims’ Impact Panel of Oklahoma, Inc. serves all 77 counties in the state of Oklahoma so that every court has access to a VIP program.

Reaching Our Youth Through School Programs

The Victims’ Impact Panel of Oklahoma, Inc. (VIP), has been presenting VIP programs in Oklahoma high schools and colleges since 1989.  Many schools have a VIP program every year for their students particularly around prom time and graduation.

VIP feels that young people are the most important audience to reach.  The influence this program can have on young people at a time in their lives when they are still impressionable can have a significant effect on the incidence of drunk driving, thereby saving lives.

Some schools have all-school assemblies and some choose certain grades to participate.  A typical VIP program is presented for 8th – 12th graders in an assembly setting.  VIP programs have been presented to groups as small as 30 and as large as 2,000.

The program lasts approximately 1 hour and 15 minutes and includes a moderator, two to three speakers, a short video, and time for the students to come and thank the speakers.  The moderator and speakers will be individuals from the local area, which makes the presentation more personal.

For questions or to schedule a school program, please contact our Edmond office at (405) 216-9556 or our Tulsa office at (918) 960-3001.

Civic Group Presentations

VIP is happy to make presentations to civic groups. The program can be a brief presentation or a full program. Contact the main office at (405) 216-9556 to schedule a VIP presentation.

Does VIP Work?

Data was provided to the Oklahoma Supreme Court Network and an independent research analyst concluded that in the major counties in Oklahoma where VIP is offered, there was an 90.5 percent success rate. This means that 9 out of ten of the offenders who attended our VIP have not been re-arrested for DUI.

Ask the DUI Offenders…

“The moving stories of the people on the panel have caused me to re-evaluate my own behavior and to realize that receiving the DUI was a far luckier event than I thought.”

“I felt compassion for the panelists. They gripped my heart and made me think about the alternatives I have to drinking and driving. I was sad for all of the painful energy that was flowing around only three people.”

“I felt very sorry for the panel members and at the same time thankful that they had the courage to share their experience in order to make a difference in someone else’s life. I believe they helped me.”

Ask the Schools…

“Thanks for relating so well with us. I’m sure all of these loved ones you’ve lost are proud. Thanks again, and never give up. You’ve just touched a lot of lives . . . and who knows, maybe just saved one.” – a student

“As a teacher, I believe this panel is having a profound impact on young people’s lives.  Thank you all for your time and sacrifice.” – a teacher from Allen High School

“I got wonderful comments from students and teachers. This is the most effective program I have found.” – high school administrator

“This was the greatest program on kids drinking and driving I have seen in 16 years of education.” – high school administrator

What can you do?

DUI offender programs are available to all counties.  That means there is one close to you.  Call for more information on how you can volunteer to help.  If you do not have a program in your immediate community, call (405) 216-9556 to get one started.

Help sponsor a program for your local school.  Bringing VIP to your students will save lives.  Call (405) 216-9556 or (918) 960-3001 for more information.

If drinking and driving has affected your life in a tragic way, no one can take away the pain completely, but our speakers find a unique healing experience in helping others.  They are able, perhaps for the first time, to make something good come out of their tragedy and in the process form strong support groups with others who understand.

One of the best ways you can help VIP is by helping spread the message. The more people who know about our program, the better we will be able to serve our communities.  Contact your local regional office to find out how you can help in this way.

You can volunteer for our annual fundraiser.  Each year VIP hosts an event to help raise money for the coming year’s expenses.  If you would like to participate in any way, please contact us at (405) 216-9556 for more information.

Make a Donation to VIP

Victims’ Impact Panel of Oklahoma, Inc. (VIP), is a non-profit organization that graciously accepts donations.  Because we are a 501(c)3 organization, all donations are tax deductible.

Donations allow us to update school equipment and supplies (projectors, other audio-visual equipment, posters, forms, etc.); produce new videos; show appreciation to our volunteer speakers at a speaker appreciation dinner; and expand the program to all parts of the state.

VIP is self-supporting and does not receive government funding.  Funding sources include:  DUI offender fees, school program fees, and fund raisers.

Another source of funding is VIP’s “Circle of Giving” wherein financial donations are received and those donors are recognized on this Web site.  As a proven loyal supporter of Victims’ Impact Panel of Oklahoma, Inc., we would like to invite you to join our VIP Circle of Giving.  As an honored member, you will be financially supporting a life-saving program and ensuring that the mission of Victims’ Impact Panel of Oklahoma, Inc., continues.

VIP Circle of Giving

The Honorable Robert H. Macy – Top Level (a donation of $10,000 or more)

The President’s Level (a donation of $5,000 – $9,999)

Patron Level (a donation of $1,000 – $4,999)

Friend of VIP Level (a donation of $500 – $999)

Supporter of VIP Level (a donation of $25 – $499)

  • Sharon Lewis
  • C & H Bit Company
  • Kerr Foundation
  • Nancy Major
  • Deb Garcia – Microsoft

If you are interested in making a monetary contribution, click on the “Make a Donation” button below or checks may be written to:

Victims’ Impact Panel of Oklahoma, Inc.
14 West Edwards Street, Suite 109
Edmond, OK 73003

Upon receipt, we will send a receipt for income tax purposes, so be sure to include your name and mailing address.