Safety on Foot and Behind the Wheel

How many students heard the message of your project?

Estimated percentage of your student body?

Who has your project aimed to reach?
Freshman class| Sophomore class| Junior class| Senior class| Community at large| Other First-grade students

Clearly state the objective of your project. 

Through initiatives ranging from elementary school presentations to putting up signs for the outside community, we aim to spread awareness about the importance of safe driving and champion safety, both inside and outside of school.

Describe your project and its implementation. 

Our goal was to effectively engage our student body, and we took several proactive measures to reach a broad audience.

Firstly, we recognized the importance of instilling good driving habits early on. To achieve this, we launched a school-wide challenge where students developed curriculum ideas to educate younger students about driver safety. Social media’s undeniable influence on young people led us to leverage its power. Recognizing how students readily consume information about trends and pop culture on these platforms, we created a social media account. This account, reaching around 70 people, disseminated quick and engaging facts on teen driving, concussion awareness, distracted driving awareness month, and our ongoing safety challenge. Our content resonated with students, as evidenced by the high level of engagement, including reposts and increased reach.

The RWJ Safety Ambassadors program was a big facet of our campaign. We designed button pins emblazoned with “Safe Kids Rock!” attached to small stuffed animals, and provided them to the first-grade students. This memorable combination served as a constant reminder of our safety message.

Finally, we aimed to extend our impact beyond our school community to encompass students and professionals of all ages. As our school is situated on a college campus, we frequently utilize their facilities, often requiring us to cross streets. Since freshman year, we’ve been ingrained with the importance of safe pedestrian practices: looking out for signs, crossing only at crosswalks, and remaining vigilant for erratic drivers.  Concerned about faded crosswalks and missing or non-reflective signage, we brought these issues to the college’s attention. We are currently collaborating with the college to replace signage and organize volunteer efforts from our school to repaint crosswalks. While initial communication has been established, much work remains to be done.

School/Community Engagement: 
How did you reach your student body and the community? (examples: connecting with nearby colleges, schools, local police departments, persons affected by teen crashes, local/county/state governments, and local businesses) 

We connected with our students and our community through a lot of outreach and social media. We ran a whole social media account where we talked about injury prevention and road safety. Through this, we were able to spread our message to our many followers, as well as connect with survivors of debilitating injuries. Because our school is located on a college campus, we had the unique opportunity to collaborate with Middlesex College in an effort to improve the state of pedestrian walkways and signage throughout the campus. We had first-hand experience of the dangers associated with lack of clearly marked pathways, as our students must travel throughout the campus every day for gym class. Additionally, we reached pedestrians at a young age through the Safety Ambassador program, hoping to instill safety lessons in them while they are in their learning phase. At Lincoln Elementary, we reached more than 150 first-grade students. The In-School Safety Challenge that we hosted at our school additionally allowed us to reach the 200 students and staff at our school, emphasizing the importance of using driving experience to protect pedestrians and teach others how to stay safe under any circumstances by designing a safety curriculum.

What makes your project unique and engaging? How did you engage with other student groups to creatively spread your message? (Examples: create artwork, music, plays, unique campaign slogan/logos) 

As referenced before, our project engaged with a lot of students of all different types of demographics. We went on social media, where we were able to show facts to many people, young and old. We also had our students learn more about safe driving themselves while developing the curriculums, because as they say, teaching is the best way to learn! Within our safety ambassadors, we also hosted a design challenge to create our pins, with the winning design being the ones we put on the button pins we handed out to students. Reaching out to the college was a niche activity, however, something that was quite useful as it directly impacts our surroundings and environment. What we feel makes our project unique and engaging is that those who take part in the aspects of our project can see the love and care that went into creating it, and it makes them want to be a part of the change. It’s more than just flyers, more than just an announcement, it’s a tangible change that we are making in order to better our youth, our physical community, and the students at our very own school.

Show how you worked as a team in designing and implementing your project (examples: sign-in sheets at meetings, photos of the group working on tasks). 

Our project clearly displays the amount of collaboration necessary to make our campaign a success. Through weekly meetings, organized spreadsheets, and quarterly trips to Lincoln Elementary, the 16 participants in our campaign worked in unison to create a final product we are proud of. Because our campaign consisted on many individual moving parts, tasks were delegated and group chats were created to facilitate efficiency, as detailed in the presentation.

Use of Research/Data: 
Show how you used local resources to help identify, deliver, assess, and present your project (Examples: local/statewide/national data.). 

Detailed in our final presentation, we used online-available data about car accidents and pedestrian injuries from Middlesex County to determine issues that we can play a part in correcting and cater our campaign to reach the audience that would most benefit from the message.

Use of Media: 
Document how you used media in your project (examples: local radio, TV, newspapers, social media, websites, video, PSAs). 

As shown in the presentation, our Instagram account with injury statistics, PSAs, and challenge promotion was our main method of using interactive media and reaching a large audience. Additionally, we used Canva to create the design for buttons to provide to first-grade students, to create a poster advertising our challenge, and to create a logo for our campaign.

Evaluation and Impact: 
Describe how you measured the impact of your project (examples: pre/post observational studies, surveys, quizzes, interviews, etc.)   

The most critical aspect of our project is creating that impact and spreading awareness of these critical topics. As a result, we greatly valued getting feedback from our audience to ensure we were doing everything we could to convey the perfect message. In our Safety Ambassador presentations, the first graders completed pre- and post-surveys to gauge their knowledge of safety topics before and after our series of visits. During these tests, students are shown a presentation filled with images of behavior and asked to identify whether said behavior is safe or unsafe. We found that around 80% of all first-graders surveyed from Lincoln Elementary received a 90% or higher on this examination! For those targeted at school, we have interviewed based on a simple random sample of all students to identify whether students are aware of how to be safe pedestrians and drivers. We found that from our surveys before our initiatives began, around 50% of students demonstrated a good understanding of safety in and around cars. However, when surveying throughout our initiatives, we found this number significantly increased to around 75% of students. This allowed us to understand that we were on the right track and that all of our efforts were counting towards creating a safer community. Measuring our impact allowed us to refine our approach and also build more positive relationships with our community as we engaged with them to fill out surveys and take interviews.

How will your project have a lasting effect on your target group? 

With so many methods of teaching, some information is meant to stick with our target groups. We have utilized several ways to make sure that everyone gets to learn in all different ways. Regarding the young students who we teach, we use very interactive teaching methods. With younger students, we do not believe in lecturing, rather creating scenarios and having students answer questions.

Unexpected Lessons Learned:
Describe any unintended results that came out of your project. 

We never expected for us to be able to actually touch individuals who suffer from brain injury and help make them realize we support their journeys. Through our social media account, where we posted lots of brain injury and driver safety facts, we also shed light on people’s stories. One impact we had was on a man named Kelvin, who had a stroke and documented his recovery process. He reached out to us and thanked us for encouraging his post-stroke recovery, and we are so immensely proud that we were able to make at least one person feel like we are there for them and that they are supported!

We also developed many soft skills that will be helpful for our futures, such as collaboration, time management, and confidence. We were able to expand our networks, now forging relationships with Middlesex College officials, our school administrators, and the elementary school administrators.

Stipend Reporting:
Your school received a stipend to support your Champion School Teen Driving Safety Project. Additionally, any funds that you raised as a result of your project must be reinvested into transportation safety. The purpose of this report is to itemize expenditures for your project that were paid from the stipend

Stuffed animals and customized safety pins $166.32
Total $166.32


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