The Ionia County YAC project goal is to raise awareness in our county (Ionia County) about teen driver safety and inform teens of the dangers of drinking & driving, not wearing a seatbelt, and talking/texting on a cell phone while driving.
The YAC has had 3 different messages that we wanted to delivery to our peers and partners. The messages have been:
- “If you want to text and talk, you should probably walk!”
- “Stay alive! Don’t drink and drive!”
- “Pull your seatbelt snug, give it an extra tug.”
The YAC has used a variety of ways to delivery our messages. The first delivery method was the creation of a public service announcement that has been used in all county high schools. The second delivery method consisted of each of our five high schools (Belding, Ionia, Portland, Saranac and Lakewood) holding a teen driver safety mini-summit. The teen driver mini-summit was used to raise awareness about teen driver safety and inform teens of the dangers of drinking & driving, not wearing a seatbelt, and talking/texting on a cell phone while driving. Students gave out t-shirts and lanyards to peers. They also designed a large banner that is traveling to each school for students to sign and pledge to “Drive to Survive”. It was also a tool to create interest in each high school in doing their own teen driver safety project within the next couple of months. We also created an Ionia County Facebook page that has collected local peer fans to share our messages.
YAC has been able to partner with the local community foundation to set up a mini-grant funding program for youth wanting to hold a teen driver safety event in their high school. Local high school students will be able to apply through their school groups (student council, SADD, etc) for a mini-grant of $400 to implement their teen driver safety event.
YAC will hold a culminating event in April where all five high schools can share their teen driver safety events with others from across the state with hope of creating even greater awareness and activity around teen driver safety in Michigan.
The project has allowed us to create awareness beyond just our peers. We had a high school teacher who shared the impact on his own personal use of the cell phone and texting as a result of our video and the teen driver safety mini-summit at his high school. There was a health teacher who has decided to use our video and the YouTube video (texting & cell phones-Wales) in his unit on substance abuse. All freshmen in that high school will participate in this class. The partnership developed with the local community foundation has lead to them to add teen driver safety issues as a funding priority for the youth fund.
Project Ignition (PI) has also allowed us to take our passion and knowledge and apply it through service-learning to teen driver safety. We have been able to create a project that meets the eight quality standards for service-learning in the following ways.
Our project linked to curriculum through Career-Related Learning and Civic Standards. We problem solved, worked as a team, and communicated, used technology, designed and implemented strategies to analyze issues, explained different perspectives and resolved issues.
The local projects between teachers and students are building capacity for service-learning. Two teachers are already planning to add a service-learning teen driver safety project to their health classes. Ionia County ISD Service-Learning Coordinator is using this opportunity to provide instruction for teachers on how to create project lessons that are aligned with K-12 Service-Learning Standards for Quality Practice. YAC members will be teaming with experienced practitioners to lead some professional development in high quality service-learning.
We are from high needs, low-performing rural, urban fringe school districts with varying socioeconomics backgrounds & abilities. We have brought a wide range of perspectives to this issue. The project has been inclusive, including gifted, at-risk, special education, regular education students the opportunity to apply their perspectives, abilities, talents in service-learning to the driver safety issue (diversity).
PI has led us to create a wide range of partnerships from law enforcement, hospital, emergency services, etc to the local community foundation, peers, health classes, drama, volunteers like DDM, etc.
The design has allowed for sustainability in our efforts increasing duration and intensity beyond the September to December timeline with the local teen driver safety events and a statewide culminating event in the spring.
The pre & post surveys were created by YAC. The surveys were placed on Survey Monkey to collect the data from our peers. YAC members also held focus groups in each high school as a means of collecting data from peers (progress monitoring).
We also provided opportunities to reflect. We created a reflection activity for students following the viewing of the video. A copy of the activity is included under samples.
We chose to address teen driver safety through Project Ignition (youth voice). We were responsible for brainstorming, creating useful ideas, and making our project come to life. We have all known somebody who has been impacted by a teen accident either through injury or death and this topic is important to us (meaningful service).
There was an enormous amount of passion that went into these projects and the dedication paid off!
Watch our video by navigating to the Video page!