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Minnesota Teens Win National Teen Driving Activism Contest

Minnesota Teens Win National Teen Driving Activism Contest

05/27/2009 - Washington, DC A group of teens from Anoka High School have been named grand prize winners of the 2009 "Act Out Loud: Raising Voices for Safe Teen Driving" contest. The online teen safe driving contest sponsored by National Organizations for Youth Safety (NOYS) and funded by The Allstate Foundation, featured 20 teams of teen activists from across the country who competed to raise awareness for teen safe driving in support of National Youth Traffic Safety Month in May. The winners were determined by the number of online votes they received on the contest Web site, ActOutLoud . The Anoka, MN team will receive a $10, 000 grand prize for their project, "Get the 411 on Teen Driving! Stay Connected! Save Teen Lives." The Anoka team has decided to use their grand prize funds to develop a grant application process consisting of a student and adult panel, to disperse the money to other school and community groups eager and willing to educate teens about traffic safety. A team from Massapequa High School, Massapequa, NY, earned second place and $5, 000 and Coral Springs Charter, Coral Springs, FL, was named the third place winner with a prize of $3, 000. All prizes will fund a youth safe driving effort of the school's choice in their respective communities. "We are extremely proud of these hard working teens and their commitment to get involved in youth safe driving efforts, " said Sandy Spavone, executive director of NOYS. "Each year, more than 5, 000 young people die in car crashes and about 300, 000 are injured. The work of these teens and their community members combined with local enforcement and support will save lives prevent these injuries." The Anoka High School SADD (Students Against Destructive Decisions) team created a Web site, teendriver411 which includes information about their campaign, their state's Graduated Driver Licensing laws and other key safety and driving facts. In addition to developing video PSAs on texting while driving and limiting the number of passengers in the car, the team challenged University of Minnesota athletes to a seat belt competition. Anoka was recognized during a "Day at the Capitol" and was supported by their local law enforcement, city council, school district, and a host of other organizations. "Anoka High School SADD is committed to educating our peers and community about traffic safety. Our goal is to eliminate teen fatalities and injuries caused by traffic crashes." said team captain Natalie Hayford. "The community has embraced our mission by voting for us and we appreciate the support of citizens, schools, service clubs, and city governments. The communities support helped us to win this award and now it is our goal to use these funds to continue our work and support other youth programs in our community addressing youth traffic safety." In second place, Massapequa High School's Live Long and Prosper team encouraged safe teen driving by creating video PSAs in English and Spanish, blogging, and engaging their peers and teachers throughout the school to help get the word out. Various classes developed safe driving signs, banners, posters, and a Web site which will eventually house their work. One student painted the mural "Don't be Distracted, " depicting a teen girl driving while talking on her cell phone and putting on make-up. The mural is on display in Westfield Sunrise Mall in Massapequa. Another student created a paper mache sports car, with the license plate JST DRV. The team was also recognized by their congressman and the director of the county's drinking driver program. "We have been working very hard throughout this entire competition to raise awareness about safe teen driving and how every person can do something to help, " said team captain Brian Cusick. "Our first priority is to raise teen awareness about risky driving behavior. We plan to use the award funds to help us meet that goal by purchasing a drunk driving simulator that we can use in our community to educate our peers." Cusick adds, "Hopefully, it will show teenage drivers how dangerous it really is to drink and drive." Third place winners, Coral Springs Charter SADD, focused on the importance of not drinking and driving and encouraged everyone to sign a pledge to be a "safe driver now and forever." The team developed a video highlighting their activities over the contest period including: creating an appreciation day for the Coral Springs Police and Fire Departments and the North Broward Medical Center; interviewing a local journalist and the Miami Heat DJ who encouraged teens not to drink and drive; staging a dramatization of an auto crash and what it would be like to be handcuffed and arrested; hosting a demonstration highlighting the importance of seat-belt use; and holding a "Ghost Out" where students were asked to sign a pledge to be a "safe driver now and forever." "It took a great amount of time and hard work to make it this far and there are no words that can express the excitement we are feeling to be one of the top teams, " said Coral Springs team captain Dahlia Hassanein. "Our team plans to use the award funds to develop more activities that focus on empowering our peers to make positive choices and to give back to the community that supported us on our journey." Across the nation, the Top 20 Act Out Loud teams documented their activism projects through blog, photo and video postings and educated their peers about safe teen driving in an effort to prevent crashes and risky driving behavior during the summer driving season, which is the deadliest season for teens on the road. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, six of the top ten deadliest days for teen drivers fall between Memorial Day and Labor Day. National Youth Traffic Safety Month activities encourage teens to conduct safe driving projects in May--during prom, graduation and the launch of the summer driving season--so that teens and communities will be positively impacted by safe driving messages. To view the winning teams' videos and team pages, and for additional information on "Act Out Loud, " please visit ActOutLoud ActOutLoud . Also, to view the safe teen driving PSAs by NOYS and The Allstate Foundation, please visit youtube user/NOYSTube youtube user/NOYSTube. To sign the National Youth Traffic Safety Month petition, please visit petitiononline NYTSM09/petition. petitiononline NYTSM09/petition. To secure an interview with a representative from The Allstate Foundation please contact Joanna Augustynski at (847) 402-5604 or jaugc allstate and for a representative from NOYS or one of the winning teams, please contact Kimberly Varner at (202) 842- 3600 x254 or kvarner hagersharp. National Organizations for Youth Safety Founded on February 8, 1994, the National Organizations for Youth Safety (NOYS) is a coalition of approximately 40 national organizations and government agencies with one common goal, to promote safe and healthy behaviors among America's youth. Through this network, NOYS influences more than 80 million youth and adults. The mission of the NOYS coalition is to promote youth empowerment and leadership, and build partnerships that save lives, prevent injuries, and enhance safe and healthy lifestyles among all youth. NOYS created National Youth Traffic Safety Month to empower youth to develop and lead teen traffic safety projects that will positively impact their communities. For more information visit noys . The Allstate Foundation Established in 1952, The Allstate Foundation is an independent, charitable organization made possible by subsidiaries of The Allstate Corporation. The Allstate Foundation partners with non-profit organizations on community initiatives that promote "safe and vital communities, " "tolerance, inclusion, and diversity" and "economic empowerment." Teen driving and empowering victims of domestic violence have been major initiatives for the Foundation since 2005. For more information visit ProtectTeenDrivers. Contact: Joanna Augustynski Phone: (847) 402-5604 For more information visit allstatenewsroom Allstate Insurance Digital Newsroom
Chris D is an advocate for Allstate Insurance.

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