21st-Century skills rewarded

From the press release:

Project Ignition applications are now being accepted for the 2009-2010 school year. The deadline is June 30, 2009. For more information visit the Project Ignition Web site at www.sfprojectignition.com.

Using statistics, the students surveyed their peers before and after workshops and presentations to measure and analyze the impact of their message. They leveraged writing skills to develop impactful communication materials. By leveraging new media and journalism skills, they produced videos that were used at community events and published personal and community stories to encourage everyone – from young drivers to adults – to practice safe driving habits, use seat-belts and obey traffic guidelines.

“Our immediate goal was to challenge our small community to be “accident and ticket” free, but our larger objective is to help other school districts, from big urban communities to small rural districts, to join our efforts” said Samantha Hoxie, student from New Castle High. “Each of us has a personal story to share and each of us has the time to give to bring about change.”

“Every year, too many of our young people are lost in teen related car crashes. In fact, car crashes are the number one cause of death for our teenagers in the United States,” said Kathy Payne, Senior Director of Education Leadership for State Farm. “Working hand-in-hand with students, our goal is to inspire them to increase awareness among their peers of the dangers of risky behavior behind the wheel.”

In addition to advocating for safer driving in their community, the New Castle Project Ignition team shared the anecdotes collected at the local level with policy-makers at the Pennsylvania Departments of Education and Transportation and called for a state-wide public awareness campaign. The students staged a mock crash, encouraged everyone to “VOTE” for safe driving on Election Day, hosted a New Teen Driver Parent Night during back-to-school activities and a participated in number of other community events. At each turn, the students were translating lessons from the classroom to life-long learning activities of communication, collaboration and leadership.

“True service-learning has a direct impact on the lives of youth, but also on those around them. This team of talented youth have certainly achieved this objective,” said Dr. James Kielsmeier, president of NYLC. “We applaud them for their commitment to their community and for channeling their passion toward a cause that can save lives.”

Created five years ago, Project Ignition is a service-learning grant program that challenges students to create and implement programs that address the issues facing teen drivers. Student-led projects have highlighted a range of topics, including seat belt use, speeding, impaired driving and distracted driving. For the 2008-2009 Project Ignition campaigns, student teams created videos, safe driving demonstrations, community outreach programs, on-line social media campaigns, mock crash scenes and public service announcements.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, almost 7,000 16-to 20-year-old drivers were involved in fatal crashes in the United States in 2006. The fatality rate for drivers ages 16 to 19, based on miles driven, is four times that of drivers ages 25 to 69.

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