Casey Feldman Foundation Announces the 2012 Youth Turn It Around Winners

Casey Feldman Foundation Announces the 2012 Youth Turn It Around Winners

Turning Adversity into Action, Youth Organizations Make NOYS for Road Safety

 The National Organizations for Youth Safety (NOYS) has announced the winners of its second annual Youth – Turn it Around Awards Program. YOUTH-Turn is a program of the National Organizations for Youth Safety® (NOYS®), sponsored by the Casey Feldman Memorial Foundation and supported by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Each year the Youth- Turn It Around Awards recognizes and awards cash prizes to youth organizations that use the YOUTH-Turn resources to turn tragedy into positive action in their schools and communities.The contest was open to legal US residents ages 11-24. A total of six prizes were awarded to University, High School and Middle School students with a grand prize and runner up in each age category. The winners and their projects/events are listed below:


Safe Rides Program –Grand Prize Winner, University of Massachusetts Dartmouth awarded $2000

The University of Massachusetts Dartmouth Peer Health Educators of North Dartmouth, MA, and organization of the BACCHUS Network was awarded the grand prize of $2000 for their campaign that addressed college students and impaired driving. Each year, 1,825 college students between the ages of 18 and 24 die from alcohol-related unintentional injuries, including motor vehicle crashes. UMass Dartmouth recognized the reality that the startling statistics on impaired driving among college students was approximately equivalent to the number of students in any given class year.  Former UMass Dartmouth student, Kristian J. Rose, Jr., was killed by a drunk driver on July 12, 2011 and students turned the tragedy into positive action. Students turned it around by establishing a student organization to advocate for the development of a “Safe Rides” program at UMass Dartmouth, creating an impaired driving safety video clip and developing safe rides pledges.

Click It For Steph – Colorado Mountain College, wins runner up award of $1000

Colorado Mountain College PEAK Performance of Glenwood Springs, CO, an organization of the BACCHUS Network was awarded $1000 for their seat belt safety awareness campaign. In October 2011 four Colorado Mountain College students were involved in a serious car accident. Three of the students survived. The fourth student, Stephenie Jo Zgorzynski died on the way to the hospital after being thrown from the car that had rolled multiple times. Stephanie was not wearing her seat belt at the time of the crash. Colorado Mountain College Health and Wellness group PEAK Performance turned this unimaginable tragedy into a positive and creative campaign to urge peers to buckle up for safety. PEAK made signs advertising the campaign and launched an effort every couple of weeks to reinforce safe driving behavior. The team gave out full size candy bars to students, faculty and community members driving in and out of campus wearing seat belts and Dum Dum lollipops to those not buckled up. They even gave a Snickers bar to a bicyclist for wearing a helmet. PEAK dedicated days to distracted driving simulators, distracted driving programs and of their flagship Seatbelt Awareness Program. The group also made Click it For Steph bracelets and launched a “No Phone Zone” program to make students aware of the dangers of distracted driving.


High School

Share the Road – East Buchanan High School wins Grand Prize of $2000

East Buchanan High School’s Family, Career and Community Leaders of America (FCCLA) chapter was awarded the grand prize for their “Share the Road” campaign. Tyler Dale Wilson was headed to get his first paycheck on his motorcycle when he collided with a truck driving on the wrong side of the road. Tyler did not survive the wreck. Tyler’s family, including his sister Alyssa, and the entire community were deeply impacted by the tragedy. Using Youth-Turn resources, East Buchanan addressed distracted driving, staying on your side of the road, and wearing your seat belt. They also have plans to address motorcycle awareness and distracted driving in the summer of 2012. The group used the Youth-Turn Survey to assess their peers’ concerns and created a “Seat Belt Check” to educate peers and younger students about safe driving behaviors. East Buchanan collaborated with local elementary teachers to teach younger students about seat belt safety. They created seat belt animals to give out during presentations so that students could share what they learned with parents. East Buchanan also created an Animoto Video Presentation as part of their campaign.


Buckle Up! – Howells-Clarkson FCCLA Chapter receives $1000 for seat belt campaign

The Howells-Clarkson Family, Career and Community Leaders of America (FCCLA) chapter was awarded $1000 for their “Buckle Up!” project. After one of their members was involved in a serious car crash the chapter turned it around with a campaign encouraging teen drivers to “Buckle Up!” The chapter focused their efforts on educating the junior high, using seat belt surveys, hosting visits from state officials, writing newspaper articles, showcasing artistic displays, and hosting an assembly for students.  The group collaborated with teachers, administrators, and community members to spread awareness about the program.  The goal of the chapter was to educate the school and community so that tragedies can be avoided in the future.


Middle School

TXTING KILLS – Gilbert Classical Academy Middle School awarded grand prize of $2000

The MASK and Boy Scouts of America organizations of Gilbert, AZ received the Grand Prize for the middle school level YOUTH-Turn It Around Award in the amount of $2,000.00. In an effort to spread the message that distracted drivers are not only a danger to themselves but everyone else on the road and in support of Global Youth Traffic Safety Month, the youth team hosted an assembly for 342 students at Gilbert Classical Academy to help raise awareness and educate peers on the dangers of texting while driving. The team worked with MASK – Mothers Awareness on School-age Kids, who volunteered to assist with the assembly presentation. The principal of Gilbert Classical Academy was supportive and was able to obtain a wrecked vehicle from Apache Sands Towing in Mesa, Arizona. The vehicle was involved in a car crash that happened on a Gilbert road while traveling 35 miles per hour, and the driver was using a cell phone when the crash occurred. The vehicle was on display in the school parking lot for an entire week. It received attention from all the students and made a lasting impression about the dangers of distracted driving. Additional activities during the presentation included viewing of AT&T’s The Last Text video, viewing of a graphic PSA from the UK, and The Allstate Foundation’s TXTING KILLS pledge activity. The team also passed out teen driver safety materials from the YOUTH-Turn toolkit and other organizations that participated. The team collaborated with teachers, administrators, and community members to spread awareness about the program.


Teen Traffic Safety Adversity – Birmingham City Swagg Committee, $1000 Runner-up

The Birmingham City Swagg Committee of Birmingham, AL a group of middle school students from William James Christian School, Bragg Middle School, and Phillips Academy received the Runner-Up Prize for their distracted driving campaign, “Teen Traffic Safety Adversity.” The team hosted a pep rally at each of their schools to spread awareness about the importance of safe driving. During the pep rallies, students watched videos on safe driving and made posters to create their own campaign slogans. The team then split their classmates into ten groups and each group performed a skit to spread awareness to not drink, eat, text, or put on makeup while driving. In addition to the pep rallies, the Birmingham Swagg Committee worked with their youth department at a local church to host an after-mass program to spread awareness about the dangers of distracted driving. The team also passed out teen driver safety materials from the YOUTH-Turn toolkit and other organizations that participated.

Dianne Anderson is the mother of the late Casey Feldman and co-founder of the The Casey Feldman Foundation and its sponsored project,