Happy Holidays; 2013 Year in Review

December 27th, 2013

 

 

The Casey Feldman Foundation  thanks each and every one of you for your support as we highlight some of our accomplishments in 2013.

We have awarded 16 scholarships to deserving college students, have funded the second facility therapy dog at Magee Rehabilitation Hospital in Philadelphia, continue to support Francisvale Home for Smaller Animals and have expanded our distracted driving awareness campaign.

Our volunteer speakers have given distracted driving presentations to more than 125,000 teens across the country and our website, EndDD.org  (End Distracted Driving), has become one of the leading resources in the battle to reduce distracted driving tragedies.

Please consider making a year-end tax deductible donation to The Casey Feldman Foundation so that we may continue our good work in Casey’s memory.

We wish all of you and your families a Happy, Healthy and Blessed 2014.

 

Related Links:

CBS News Coverage 2012: Health: Dog Therapy To Honor Casey

believe@Magee, July 16, 2013: Because of Casey: Magee’s Facility Dog Program

Magee Rehabilitation Hospital

Francisvale Home for Smaller Animals

 

 

Join Us: July 17, 2013, Day of Service at Magee Rehabilitation Hospital on Casey’s 4th “Angelversary”

June 24th, 2013

Casey Feldman

This year’s day of service for Casey Feldman’s  fourth “Angelversary” will take place at Magee Rehabilitation Hospital, 1513 Race Street, Philadelphia, PA 19102 from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm. It has become an annual event on the anniversary of Casey’s death to perform a day of service in her honor and memory. Since Casey was an animal lover and animal rights advocate, the service thus far has included this aspect of her many passions.

Through the support of the Casey Feldman Memorial Foundation, Magee  established its first Facility Dog program, in 2012, adding a new official member to the Magee team, Ford, the Golden Retriever.

This year, the Casey Feldman Foundation, together with Anapol Schwartz (Casey’s dad, Joel’s law firm), has sponsored Magee’s  second therapy dog, Joey, a Labrador Retriever/ Golden Retriever mix. ”Anapol Schwartz has supported so many of our activities following Casey’s death and we are so appreciative of that support”, said Joel.

Through Magee’s Facility Dog program, Joey works alongside trained health and human service professionals to support patients in their therapy and facilitate the rehabilitation process. This program will be recognized as part of the Casey Feldman Memorial Foundation’s fourth annual “Angelversary” Day of Service.

Casey's brother, Brett, meeting Joey at Magee in May

Family, friends and supporters of Casey and the Casey Feldman Memorial Foundation are invited to provide a few hours of service at Magee  and watch Joey in action as he leads patients in therapy sessions.  Service projects for the morning include filing, weeding the gardens, cleaning the parking lot and cleaning windows.  A lunch time ceremony will  take place at 12:30 pm and  the day will conclude at 2:00 pm.

Please RSVP by Monday, July 15th to join us on July 17th  at Casey Feldman Network Event or to Dianne Anderson, Casey Feldman’s mom, at 610-659-6995, or dianneanderson@caseyfeldmanfoundation.org. or on Dianne’s Facebook Event.

Related Links:

believe@Magee, July 16, 2013: Because of Casey: Magee’s Facility Dog Program

CBS News Coverage 2012: Health: Dog Therapy To Honor Casey,

Previous articles regarding the annual “Day of Service”

Magee Rehabilitation Hospital

The Anapol Schwartz Foundation

 

Casey Feldman’s Parents Receive Courageous Advocacy Award in Massachusetts

June 11th, 2013

Casey's parents, Joel Feldman and Dianne Anderson holding a picture of their daughter, Casey, who was killed by a distracted driver in 2009

In creating the Casey Feldman Foundation and EndDD.org and bringing their “End Distracted Driving” (EndDD) message to the public throughout the country, Joel Feldman and Dianne Anderson “have given their daughter a powerful and important legacy,” the Massachusetts Academy of Trial Attorneys (MATA) concluded, recently awarding the couple the group’s 2013 Courageous Advocacy Award.

Casey Feldman was 21 when she was killed by a distracted driver in 2009. MATA recognized her parents, Joel and Dianne, for “their courage, selflessness and commitment to preventing similar tragedies,” calling it “extraordinary.”

“Casey Feldman taught her friends that everyone had a story – both unique and beautiful. She believed that telling someone’s story made a difference—to both the story-teller and their audience. Casey believed that stories change lives. In telling Casey’s story, Joel and Dianne are not only changing peoples’ lives, they are saving them. What could be a more important message and unforgettable tribute to their daughter Casey’s memory,” explained the program for MATA’s Annual Meeting and dinner on May 22nd in Newton, MA.

Feldman accepted the award from MATA President Tim Kelleher, telling the crowd of approximately 400 guests, “We are so appreciative of being honored by MATA and for their hard work to bring our End Distracted Driving presentation to teens in high schools across the state.”

MATA members have taken the EndDD.org presentation to high schools in Massachusetts since the campaign was launched in that state  in March.

“As trial lawyers, we see the awful consequences of distracted driving,” said Feldman, “But our End Distracted Driving program can help prevent these terrible crashes and make a difference in all of our communities.”

Joel Feldman, Casey's father, addressing MATA upon acceptance of the Courageous Advocacy Award

“I can’t bring Casey back, but I can tell her story and have others tell her story so that we all drive safer,” Feldman said.

“In our society, many people are uncomfortable talking about grief and loss and don’t know how to support those who are suffering,” said Feldman. “As trial lawyers, our clients are suffering and not only do we have an obligation to represent our clients , but an obligation as compassionate human beings to offer support that our clients and their families need.”

Related Links:

EndDD Campaign Initiated in Massachusetts at State Capital; Gov Issues Proclamation; H.S. Students Hear Presentation; TV News Coverage, EndDD.org, March 10, 2013

 

Casey Feldman Foundation 2013 Cappies Scholarship to Annina Baker; John Gildea Recognized; Springfield High School Wins Best Play

May 21st, 2013

Annina Baker at the Cappies Gala. Photo Credit: Gavin Baker Photography

This years local “Tony Awards” night for theater students from some 39 participating area high schools – the Greater Philadelphia Cappies Gala – included the third annual Casey Feldman Foundation Scholarship which went to Annina Baker of Upper Merion High School.

An added bonus at the Gala came when Casey’s teacher and theater director, John Gildea, was given an award by the Cappies organization for his years  as a theater director at Springfield High School  and his  tireless efforts with the Cappies organization.  In addition, Springfield High School (SHS) won a Cappie for Best Play for their performance of Our Town, a play in which Casey also performed when she was at SHS.

The Cappies honors high school theater and journalism students. The Cappies Gala, which comes at the end of the school year, is an awards ceremony for the schools’ theater productions, in categories ranging from lighting, sound, set, and costume design, to comic actor, dancer, vocalist, and lead actor, to the coveted play and musical awards. Cappies critics, who write reviews of the schools’ shows throughout the year, are also nominated for awards. The presentation of the awards is interspersed throughout the evening at the Gala with performances from the schools nominated for Song, Play, and Musical, who perform selections from their shows. The students enter the Upper Darby Performing Arts Center on a red carpet and are clad in evening gowns and tuxedos.

The Feldman family established the Casey Feldman Foundation Cappies scholarship to honor Casey’s memory, since Casey was heavily involved in theater, journalism and the Cappies while in high school. “I am so pleased that Annina’s English and drama teacher, Laura Ebersole, nominated Annina for our scholarship,” said Joel Feldman, Casey’s father.

A surprised John Gildea from Sringfield High School accepting a Cappie award for his years of service to the theater arts

Annina has starred in musicals and plays at her school and has been a Cappies nominee twice for Comedic Actress in a Play. “On stage, Annina excels at singing, dancing, and acting. Her leading roles in Our Town, Moon Over Buffalo, and Seussical demonstrate Annina’s versatility as an actress,” wrote Laura Ebersole in her nomination. Annina has also been the Cappies lead critic from her high school and has had eight reviews published in the Philadelphia Inquirer and Times Herald , leading to a Cappies nomination for Undergraduate Female Critic.

Annina is President of her school’s National Honors Society, participates in her school’s advanced choir, and is also a member of Octagon, her school’s community service club; all while maintaining a 3.95 GPA.

Annina used her senior graduation project requirement to further delve into the arts but also help out those in need. Her “Princess Project” blended together theater and charity to entertain sick or special needs children, sharing her love of the arts with those in need. She also furthers her studies by volunteering as a Historical Interpreter at Valley Forge National Park, and participates in other community service events such as Relay for Life, benefitting the American Cancer Society.

Annina’s  scholarship will aid in her enrollment this fall at Villanova University, where she will be majoring in mechanical engineering.

“I couldn’t think of a more deserving recipient than Annina Baker for the 2013 Cappies scholarship that we established in Casey’s memory,” said Dianne Anderson, Casey Feldman’s mother.

“I am also so thrilled that John Gildea’s hard work and dedication to his students and the theater arts was recognized and that SHS won the Cappie for Best Play.”, added  Dianne. “There is  a special place in my heart for both John Gildea and the Springfield Theater Workshop. With also having the opportunity to meet our scholarship recipient, Annina Baker, I couldn’t think of a better ending to the evening.”

Please contribute to the Casey Feldman Foundation so that additional, deserving students may benefit from scholarships.

 

Related Links:

Roll out the red carpet for the Cappies awards gala,  Philly.com, May 20, 2013

Eighth annual Great Philadelphia Cappies Gala this Sunday, Delco News Network,  April 28, 2013

The Casey Feldman Memorial Foundation, Gavin Baker Photography, May 6, 2013

YouTube video –  Opening Performance at 2013 Cappies, Season of Love, from Rent

Meg Boeni Receives Second Annual Casey Feldman Foundation Cappies Scholarship, Casey Feldman Foundation News and Updates, October 2nd, 2012

Chris Price Receives First Casey Feldman Foundation Cappies Scholarship Award,  Casey Feldman Foundation News & Updates, May 17th, 2011

Casey Feldman Awarded an Honory Cappie; SHS Laramie Project Cast Wins Awards at the Cappies, Casey Feldman Foundation News & Updates, June 21st, 2010

  Photos of Casey’s high school performances and the 2006 Cappies

SHS theater family remembers beloved actress, The News of Delaware County, December 16, 2009

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Faces – 2013′s Alternative Spring Break Scholarship Recipients

May 11th, 2013
Mikaela Aroff

Mikaela Aroff

By Dianne L. Anderson

Last month, students from the University of Colorado at Boulder spent their spring break doing service through the Alternative Spring Break program. These students used their weeklong vacation time to travel to different areas of the country to volunteer with various nonprofit organizations. This opportunity was provided to five students through scholarship stipends from the Casey Feldman Foundation. Read their stories:

Mikaela Aroff–  A senior, Mikaela is double majoring in ecology and evolutionary biology and environmental studies and is dedicated to pursuing a career in saving the environment for animals and protecting their habitat. Despite loosing her parents at the age of 14, this young woman has surged forward. Mikaela has done work with turtle conservation and fish behavior,  as well as recycling, through her employment with the CU Intermediate Unit. Mikaela currently works on campus with the Dennis Small Cultural Center, planning events focused around social justice and promoting multiculturalism and diversity. Mikaela spent her spring break in Moab, Utah with the nonprofit organization, Plateau Restoration.org working on habitat restoration, re-vegetation, erosion control, and exotic species removal.

Lee Phan

Lee Phan-   Lee’s immigrant parents came to this country with only the clothes on their back. While Lee experienced a childhood with a loving family,  sometimes there was  a shortage of the basics, including food on the table. Paying for college on her own, Lee has also found the time to include volunteer work in her schedule, reporting, “It is among my passion to give back to the underprivileged.”  Lee utilized her scholarship stipend to spend her spring week in San Francisco volunteering with Glide, an organization that serves 3 nutritious meals a day to the underprivileged. Lee’s time was also spent exploring related issues such as homelessness, poverty and economic turndown.

Charlotte Thompson

Charlotte Thompson- Charlotte works at the CU Volunteer Resource Center and hopes, upon graduation, to find work with a non-profit which addresses a social or environmental issue.  Charlotte has spent much of her young life helping others through service work, reporting that her passion for volunteering all started during her 12 years as a girl scout. Charlotte spent her alternative spring break week in Cincinnati addressing urban poverty and homelessness while working with the Greater Cincinnati Coalition for the Homeless. ”The issue of homelessness and poverty is an issue that I hope to help fix,” reports Charlotte.

Haley DiRenzo

Hailey DiRenzo- Hailey spent her spring break working with children in Atlanta, Georgia with the Medici Project in an area where 50% of the children do not graduate from high school. She is devoted to helping children learn the value of an education and to making youth feel empowered. “I want kids to understand and feel  that no matter where they come from or what amount of money they have, they have the ability to do anything they really want to”, said Hailey. Hailey also works two part time jobs in addition to volunteering her time with youth in Boulder and ultimately hopes to go to law school and perform public service law.

Kailee Caranta

Kailee Caranta– A sophomore environmental studies major, Kailee works two jobs to help put herself through college and performs service work, including serving breakfast every other Saturday at the North Boulder Homeless Shelter. Growing up in a family where alcoholism and addiction was an issue, new clothes and luxuries did not come often. Kailee has recognized that homelessness is not just something that can happen to other people. Kailee sees medical school as an ultimate goal, wanting to be a DO and specialize as an OBGYN, “Because I am a woman wanting to help other women.”  Kailee spent her spring break week in San Francisco, as did Lee Phan, on a nutrition and wellness week working with Glide, an organization that serves 3 nutritious meals a day to the needy,  as she explored related issues such as homelessness, poverty and economic turndown.

Way to go 2013 Alternative Spring Break Scholarship recipients!

Please contribute to the Casey Feldman Foundation so that additional deserving students may experience the joy of community service.

Related Links:

Casey's parents, Joel and Dianne with the 2013 scholarship recipients

- “For some CU-Boulder students, spring break a chance to do good”,  by Brittany Anas, The Daily Camera, 3-22-2013

- University of Colorado Boulder Volunteer Resource Center (Plans and organizes Alternative Spring Break trips for students at CU)

- Plateau Restoration.org

-  Glide

- Greater Cincinnati Coalition for the Homeless

- Medici Project

- Helping our children experience the gift of helping others, article in the Fall CU Parent Newsletter by Casey Feldman’s parents, Joel Feldman and Dianne Anderson in which they discuss the establishment of the Alternative Spring Break scholarships in Casey’s memory

Casey Feldman Inspiration video , produced by CU Boulder broadcast journalism student Kylie Bearse and which aired on CU Boulder TV News, concerning the Alternative Spring Break program and the scholarships established in Casey’s memory

- Previous  articles on the Casey Feldman Foundation News and Updates about the Alternative Spring Break Program and the many scholarship recipients who have benefited

 

Marking Distracted Driving Awareness Month – IN DE AND PA, THE CASEY FELDMAN FOUNDATION’S EndDD.ORG BUILDS SUPPORT

April 19th, 2013

 

Casey's dad, Joel Feldman, speaking at the PA news conference

DE – L to R: State Police Superintendent Col. Nathaniel McQueen Jr., Joel Feldman, Governor Jack Markell, Lieutenant Governor Matthew Denn, Tim Lengkeek, President – Delaware Trial Lawyers, Lisa Donofrio, Executive Director, Delaware Trial Lawyers

With a Governor, Lt. Governor, Attorney General and state lawmakers joining the cause, EndDD.org reached out to drivers and their passengers in Delaware and Pennsylvania, especially teenagers, with an urgent and life-saving warning to change their driving habits and stop driving distracted.

In separate news conferences in Wilmington, DE and Harrisburg, PA last week, EndDD.org founder Joel Feldman told the story of his 21-year-old daughter Casey, who was killed by a distracted driver. Feldman and his wife, Dianne Anderson, created The Casey Feldman Foundation and EndDD.org, a project of the foundation, to honor Casey’s life and save others.

“While I can’t bring Casey back, I can tell her story so that teens and adults will drive safer,” said Feldman, who worked with traffic safety, mental health and other experts to develop the EndDD.org interactive presentation that will be seen by more than 200,000 teens in 35 states this year.

In Wilmington, Feldman and EndDD.org supporters were joined by Governor Jack Markell, Lt. Governor Matt Denn, and State Police Superintendent Colonel Nathaniel McQueen, Jr. at a news conference hosted by the Delaware Trial Lawyers Association. That day, the state launched its second wave of cellphone enforcement, issuing tickets to drivers seen talking or texting on a cell phone. The Delaware Office of Highway Safety reported 1,718 crashes in 2012 due to distracted driving, one was fatal. Governor Markell made it clear that his office is committed to seeing that every teen in Delaware participate in the EndDD presentation.

DE – L: Governor Jack Markell, Joel Feldman and Lt. Governor Matt Denn sporting EndDD wristbands

“I was amazed by how many Delaware trial lawyers attended the news conference and stayed for a training session afterwards so that they could go out in their own communities and educate young drivers about the dangers of distracted driving,” said Joel Feldman.

In Harrisburg, Feldman joined State Attorney General Kathleen Kane, Auditor General Eugene DePasquale, State Sen. Rob Teplitz, D-Dauphin County, Rep. Brandon Neuman, D-Washington and the Pennsylvania Association of Justice (PAJ). Sen. Teplitz and Rep. Neuman sponsored resolutions, passed unanimously in both houses, making April, “Distracted Driving Awareness Month.”

“Distracted driving takes a terrible toll on our families, communities and safety,” said Sen. Neuman. “It is my hope that educating everyone about the importance of safe driving habits will begin to change driving habits that caused 387,000 injuries and 3,331 deaths in 2011.”

“It is crucial to public safety that we continue to remind motorists to keep both eyes on the road and both hands on the wheel,” said Rep. Teplitz. “Just one moment of distraction can change the lives of not only a driver, but passengers, surrounding drivers and pedestrians, as well as their loved ones. No text message is worth risking lives.”

PA – L to R: Rep. Brandon Neuman , Mike Davey (PAJ), Joel Feldman, Scott Cooper (PAJ Pres.) and State Sen. Rob Teplitz

Rep. Teplitz praised Feldman and his family for “their leadership on this critical issue.”

“After he lost his daughter, Joel Feldman changed his own driving habits and committed himself to educating others nationwide about the dangers of distracted driving, especially teens,” Rep. Teplitz said.

“The (EndDD.org) presentation is heart-wrenching, powerful, and illuminating,” Sen. Neuman said. “It will challenge every mind and leave no heart untouched.”

Attorney General Kathleen Kane said, “It is critical that everyone, but especially teenagers who are just forming good driving habits that will last a lifetime, understands that driving while distracted is terrible dangerous…I am glad that the EndDD program is being show in high schools across Pennsylvania, and I’m proud to help make April “End Distracted Driving Month” in Pennsylvania.”

PA Attorney General Kathleen Kane speaking at the press conference

PAJ President Scott Cooper and Mike Davey, President of the News Lawyers Division of the PAJ, have committed their members to carry the EndDD program throughout the state.

Read more about the EndDD.org news conferences:

Pennsylvania:

Lawmakers, Victim’s Father Warn of Distracted Driving Dangers (Also view full video coverage of entire PA news conference here)

Father uses daughter’s story to tell dangers of distracted driving

Lawmakers, Victim’s Father Warn of Distracted Driving Dangers 

Father tries to prevent distracted driving (FOX News video)

PA Legislators recognize April as ‘Distracted Driving Awareness’ month  (News 21 video)

PA Auditor General Eugene DePasquale speaking at the news conference

 

 

 Delaware:

Father who lost daughter to distracted motorist leads effort

 

 

 

5K Run/Walk this Sunday Benefiting the Casey Feldman Foundation/EndDD.org – Register or Donate

April 17th, 2013

The West Chester University Alpha Epsilon Chapter of the national honors fraternity, Phi Sigma Pi, will be hosting a 5K walk/run this Sunday, April 21, 2013 as its fourth annual fundraiser for the Casey Feldman Foundation (sponsor of EndDD.org.). Since it is Distracted Driving Awareness Month and Casey was killed by a distracted driver, the fraternity hopes to raise awareness of the dangers of distracted driving.

Phi Sigma Pi has been a supporter of the Casey Feldman Memorial Foundation, holding an annual fundraiser for the Foundation since 2010. At the time of Casey’s death in July of 2009, Casey’s best friend from high school, Amber Staska, was President elect of the fraternity for the 2009-2010 school year. Casey’s close friend, Phil Knasiak, was Vice President.

The three past benefits have been in the form of a concert at West Chester University with an on- campus pedestrian safety and and distracted driving awareness campaign in the week leading up to the concert. The effort received national recognition the first year when Phi Sigm Pi’s President was featured in Seventeen Magazine.

Casey Feldman (R) with Amber Staska, Casey's best friend from high school and President of Phi Sigma Pi in 2010

The fraternity recently inducted Casey’s parents, Joel Feldman and Dianne Anderson as honorary brothers and have adopted the Casey Feldman Foundation as their annual charitable cause.

This year’s 5K event will take place on the West Chester University South Campus in Lot S, West Chester, PA.  Check- in is 10:15-10:45 and the race starts at 11:00 a.m. Click here for online registration and directions or here to view the event details on Facebook

If you cannot attend, please consider making a donation to the Casey Feldman Foundation so that we may continue to make a difference in the lives of others and save lives through our distracted driving efforts.

Click here to view the articles, photos and videos from the prior three Phi Sigma Pi fundraisers.

 

U.S. DOT, Joel Feldman’s post – Distracted Driving Awareness Month, “Celebrating my daughter’s 25th birthday”

April 10th, 2013

“This past weekend, on April 6, we celebrated my daughter Casey’s 25th birthday. But Casey wasn’t there. She was killed in 2009 by a distracted driver, a 58-year-old man behind the wheel of a van. He took his eyes off the road for just a few seconds. Pink was Casey’s favorite color, so we released pink balloons in her memory….” Read the post of Casey’s father, Joel Feldman, founder of EndDD.org  on the U.S. DOT site: http://goo.gl/Yd4Fc

Casey’s Friend, Brooke Burdge, Shares Her Story with Local NJ Teens in Distracted Driving Presentation

March 17th, 2013

The following is a guest blog by Brooke Burdge, a friend of Casey’s during her time at Fordham University.

 

Brooke Burdge with students from Monmouth Regional High School who are involved in efforts to help promote safe driving within their own school community.

On March 11, I had the opportunity to speak with close to 1,000 students and faculty at Monmouth Regional High School in Tinton Falls, New Jersey on the topic of distracted driving. My presentation was part of  the EndDD.org End Distracted Driving Student Awareness Initiative, which since its inception in 2012, has reached over 60,000 high school students.

At the start of my presentation, I gave a brief overview of EndDD’s mission, as well as some background on the inspiration for these presentations. I described how in the summer of 2009, an attorney and father named Joel Feldman from Pennsylvania got the news that his 21-year-old daughter, Casey, was struck and killed by a distracted driver while she was a pedestrian in a crosswalk on her way to her summer job in Ocean City, New Jersey. I told them how he then established the Casey Feldman Foundation in memory of his daughter and created EndDD.org  and the distracted driving presentation to educate others about the dangers of distracted driving.

Brooke (L) and Casey in a photo taken during their time together at Fordham University

Then, I let the group know a little more about me. Like them, I grew up in Monmouth County, NJ.  After graduating from a nearby high school in 2006, I went on to Fordham University, where I made a great friend named Casey.  This is the moment where I showed them a slide with photos of Casey and myself throughout our time together, as well as two Facebook wall posts from Casey. In this moment, the audience realized my direct connection to this cause and the root of my passion for this issue.

Later in the presentation, I showed the students the “Faces of Distracted Driving” video created for the U.S. Department of Transportation, in which a few of Casey’s friends and I talk about the preventable nature of Casey’s tragedy.  I explained to the students that you tend to see these types of videos and think, “Something like this couldn’t happen to me or my friends,” but those are all my good friends on that screen, and it’s very real to each of us.

Brooke (L) and Casey working for The Observer at the Fordham reunion in June 2008

Throughout the presentation, I reminded the group of three main points.  First, this is not just a teen problem. Adults are also guilty. I shared that before July 2009, I was also guilty of distracted driving. Secondly, I let them know that this is a choice. I wasn’t there to tell them what they should or should not be doing. I was there to give them information, and share a few stories, that they can take into consideration when making their own choices behind the wheel. And third, I reminded that that yes, these stories are sad, but they’re preventable. I wanted them to understand that although what happened to Casey and others they would hear about is extremely upsetting, it didn’t have to happen. I wanted everyone in the room to walk away feeling like they were in a position to help stop future tragedies like these from taking place.

Before the presentation, over 400 students had completed questionnaires about distracted driving. I covered the forms of distracted driving they had mentioned most frequently in their surveys—taking eyes off the road, texting, talking on the phone. But, I also wanted them to think more about the other kinds of distracted driving that may not come to mind as frequently, but are just as dangerous, such as eating, changing music, applying makeup, programing a GPS, and reaching for something.

Brooke Burdge speaking to students at Monmouth Regional High School in NJ. Photo Credit: Samantha Primich

We discussed the importance of speaking up for your own safety when a passenger in an adult’s or a friend’s car—how you can offer to take your driver’s phone and cover any calls or texts for them while their driving.  Through various stories about the numerous consequences of distracted driving, I hoped to drive home the point that this is sad, but preventable. Just a few seconds can change everything, and in the end, are those few seconds of distraction really worth the consequences?

I want to thank those faculty and students who helped organize this assembly.  Additionally, I want to thank every student and faculty member in that room for their attention.  A handful of students have reached out to me on social media since the assembly, and I am so happy that this presentation helped them think about distracted driving in a new light.

NOTE:  View photos from the presentation here. View Brooke Burdge and Casey’s other friends  in the Faces of Distracted Driving video below speaking about Casey and how they changed they driving habits after Casey’s death. View U.S. Secretary of Transportation, Ray LaHood’s blog article introducing the video.

Premier Release of “Just a Few Seconds” Distracted Driving PSA Video Produced by Casey’s Father

February 6th, 2013

“I wasn’t texting, I wasn’t using my cell phone, but I still killed someone”, says 17 year old Kate, in the new PSA video produced by Casey’s father, Joel Feldman, now incorporated into the www.EndDD.org (Casey Feldman Foundation website) distracted driving presentation. This is one of the first distracted driving videos which features both the driver and the victim’s family. Howard Stein, 61 years old, was soon to be a grandfather; his daughter Emily, also featured in the video, was newly married and 6 months pregnant at the time of her father’s death. “I knew he was going to be such a fantastic grandfather,” says Emily. View the 3 minute video:

The accident occurred in Massachusetts and the video was premiered at a press conference in Boston at the State House on Feb. 4th. In conjunction with the release of the video, Massachusetts’s Governor Deval Patrick declared Feb. 4th as Distracted Driving Awareness Day.  The Massachusetts’s Academy of Trial Attorneys (MATA) participated and announced their plan to take the EndDD driving presentation to schools throughout Massachusetts.

The EndDD.org distracted driving presentation which included the new PSA video, was kicked off the following day in Mass. at Medford High School outside of Boston.

Related Links:

Photos

EndDD.org – End Distracted Driving (Casey Feldman Foundation sponsored website)

“Victims Launch End Distracted Driving Campaign” (News video clip and story)

“Father takes distracted driving cause to Mass”,  by Jeff Wolfe,  Daily Times, Feb. 4, 2013

“End Distracted Driving Campaign Kicks Off at MHS”, Medford Public Schools

“Gov. Patrick declares “Distracted Driving Day’ as Mass. lawyers discuss dangers of distracted driving”, Metro (Boston)

“Program to End Distracted Driving Underway”, Fox News Boston

“Abruptly, a life ends, another shatters; A teen works to make amends for a moment of deadly distraction”,  by Tim O’Brien, TimesUnion, Albany, NY (Feb. 16, 2013)

MATA