With funding from the Casey Feldman Memorial Foundation and support from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), National Organizations for Youth Safety (NOYS) launched the first-ever Youth – Turn it Around Awards Program. Recognition and cash prizes went to to youth organizations that utilized the YOUTH-Turn resource and turned tragic adversity into positive action in their schools and communities. The program was launched in May in celebration of National Youth Traffic Safety month and in conjunction with the launching of the United Nation’s Decade of Action for Road Safety where Casey’s parents were recognized for their effort in traffic safety. The winners have recently been announced:
Wear Your Seatbelt! - Youth Organization Receives $5000 Traffic Safety Award
The Howells-Clarkson, Family, Career and Community Leaders of America Chapter of Howells, Nebraska received the first-place YOUTH-Turn It Around Award of $5000.00. After one of their members was involved in a serious car crash, the FCCLA chapter created a project titled “Wear Your Seat Belt!”. The project addressed the important traffic safety concern of encouraging teen drivers to wear seat belts, and the chapter focused their efforts on educating students, using seat belt surveys, hosting visits from state officials, writing newspaper articles, showcasing artistic displays, and hosting an elementary school poster contest.
The group collaborated with teachers, administrators, local police, county police, the Nebraska State Patrol, and fire and rescue teams. The goal of the chapter was to educate the school and community in an effort to avoid future tragedies. The group administered a seat belt survey before their project and also after their project. Results from the survey after the project indicated that the rate of seat belt use was higher because of their efforts.
Be a Savvy Fox! – College Peer Educators Receive $3000 Traffic Safety Award
The University of Virginia’s Alcohol and Drug Abuse Prevention Team (ADAPT) peer educators recently received the second-place YOUTH-Turn it Around Award of $3,000 for their project titled “Be a Savvy Fox!”. They addressed the traffic safety concern of impaired driving on the day of the Foxfield Races steeplechase event near Charlottesville, VA. The group highlighted the problem of the all-day tailgaiting leading to excessive drinking and unfortunate consequences, following a crash that occurred when a high school student drove after consuming alcohol at the Foxfield Races. After the crash, a survey was given to assess drinking and impaired driving behaviors. Results indicated that drinking and then driving was a major concern during this event.
As part of their campaign, students created media materials, led a social media campaign, and coordinated a student safety tent that provided free water, snacks, sunscreen, and information on race day. They used focus groups to test their messages and products. They also created a pledge campaign and gave out t-shirts to the first 500 students who signed the pledge. Results from their survey at the end of the program indicated that fewer students drove after drinking than in previous years, thanks to the group’s efforts.
Students Can Celebrate Without Drugs or Alcohol – Youth Organization Receives $2000 Traffic Safety Award
Students in the SADD (Students Against Destructive Behavior) chapter at Easthampton High School of Easthampton, Massachusetts recently received the third-place $2,000 YOUTH-Turn It Around Award for their efforts in reducing teen driving fatalities. After experiencing two tragedies in the last four years as a result of poor decision making on the part of both parents and teens related to alcohol use, the chapter decided to take action.
Students worked to conduct two social norms marketing campaigns where both high school seniors and their parents were asked a series of survey questions. Several of the answers to the questions were made into posters that were distributed at different times during the month of May. Messages included “96% of seniors believe that they would not get into a car with someone who has been drinking after the prom” and “Easthampton seniors believe that they can have fun at the prom without drugs or alcohol” and “8 out of 10 Easthampton seniors strongly believe that graduation night can be celebrated fully without drugs or alcohol”.
Posters with information from the parent survey were also displayed in the school, around the community, and on two billboards by the two main entrances to the community. Students also completed a sticker shock campaign, helped with compliance checks, and organized a health fair with interactive activities. After the events, one student wrote a letter to the school administration, asking that they help stop alcohol abuse by having a breathalizer at the prom. Other students supported the letter writer and provided their own ideas to help. As a result of the SADD chapter’s efforts, the community also created a substance abuse prevention task force, with students serving on the task force.
Related Posts and Links:
- NOYS Youth Turn YouTube video featuring Casey’s friends talking about the loss of Casey and turning adversity into something positive
- ENDDD.org – End Distracted Driving website sponsored by Casey Feldman Foundation