Stay Alert, Stay Alive- Seeds of Safety

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, School professionals, Parents, Community at large

The goal of the Stay Alert, Stay Alive campaign has always been to spread awareness on the ever-present issue of getting distracted behind the wheel to our local community. To do so, Matawan Regional High School SADD actively sought to collaborate with groups inside our high school as well as in the community. This year’s Seeds of Safety project not only spread our awareness message, but also appealed to the community as evidenced but the sheer amount of participation! We continued to grow our online outreach by not only gaining followers on our own social media account, but also collaborated with other groups to spread our message. We also continued our traditional activities of assemblies, pledges, and PSAs in addition to our outreach in the community .

Target Audience:
Our students, our community, our staff, and beyond. Our seeds of safety project started out just for the school and community, but it made it to other states. In addition, our reach with social media is limitless!

This year, we spent a lot of time thinking about our past successes and setbacks as we designed our campaign. Our goal was to involve as much of the community as possible in order to get our message heard. Instead of focusing on items that relied on outside agencies such as the city zoning or town engineer to complete, we met with stakeholders from our building and community to brainstorm.

We had already set the groundwork for the connection between safe driving and school beautification in the previous years’ campaigns, but we wanted something that would be a visual reminder to our staff, students, and community members. Socially engaged art includes any artform which involves people and communities in collaboration and socially responsible interaction.

By creating our tire sculpture planters, we repurposed vehicle tires to not only make something beautiful, but something that will continue to remind our students and community to drive safely. Additionally, many clubs, organizations, students, businesses and individuals had the opportunity to contribute seeds to the planter sculptures which not only encouraged collaboration, but also, spread our message further. By placing this in the junior parking lot we are ingraining our message to the school’s newest drivers. Furthermore, parents and guardians use that lot for pick up and drop off in addition to parking for events so the community will also see our safe driving message for years to come.
Our Social Media campaign is getting better and better. We pushed out our multiple collaborative PSAs through it once again. Last year, we actively sought out agencies and campaigns that aligned with our message and jumped in to collaborate on promoting the campaign. ​We have continued to maintain those relationships and have sought out more. This year, we not only used our SADD Twitter account, but we also used our high school’s Civic Leader Twitter AND Instagram to move our message forward!

This year was a truly collaborative effort. SADD led meetings in the beginning of the year that included representatives from the art club, the environmental club, the civic leaders, the school beautification club, the video production club, as well as teachers and officers from the Aberdeen Police department. It was from these meetings that the Seeds of Safety project came from. All of these clubs and community members have continued to work together throughout the year whether to collect the donated supplies, germinate the seeds, make and produce the PSAs, and even call their family members to participate as evidenced by our seeds from out of state!

Use of resources:
We have an excellent relationship with our local police departments and lean on them for advice, funding, and help with our projects. Specifically this year, the Aberdeen Police department has allocated two officers to work with us in different capacities. Officer Campbell has helped us negotiate with other agencies to assist with our project such as the Aberdeen Public Works Department. Officer McDougall has put us in touch with local businesses and introduced our students to members of the community watch to further help our message go out. Additionally, we have availed ourselves of all that is offered by national campaigns such as those run by All State, NJM, NJ traffic safety, SADD, BIANJ, etc… Through these agencies, we’ve booked assemblies, gotten products, and funding, as well as collaborated with them to amplify our social media campaign. In June, we will be hosting NJM “What do you consider lethal?” presentation and we’ve invited members of the TIGGER STAVOLA FOUNDATION to do activities with the students to prevent impaired driving.

Use of media:
We are proud to be expanding our use of media. As always, we have our district tv station and our high school youtube channel, but we have focused heavily on social media and the internet since 2021. Last year, we actively sought out agencies and campaigns that aligned with our message and jumped in to collaborate. We have continued to maintain those relationships and have sought out more.
This year, we not only used our SADD Twitter account, but we also used our high school’s Civic Leader Twitter AND Instagram to move our message forward!
Our data analysis of this year has proven that our reach continues to increase! Additionally, our district social media accounts have agreed to repost and add to everything we are posting. Furthermore, our campaign has been featured throughout our district and high school newsletters which are distributed to every parent in the district. Lastly, our collaboration with our local police department has not only benefited us because of their social media accounts, but also the social media accounts of the community groups.

We wanted to make something beautiful, but we also wanted it to be representative for all the stakeholders and community. Furthermore, we wanted to create something that would not only last for many years, but also something the community could take pride in and contribute to. We realize that the biggest obstacle facing teens behind the wheel is distractions so our main focus has been to target distracted driving behaviors, however, that is not the entirety of our project. We have also used our social media to bring awareness to other control factors that could lead to accidents and fatalities. These include but are not limited to pedestrian safety, bicycle safety, and being under the influence.

We received over 700 seeds and names from our students, parents, staff and community members. We even received seeds in the mail from other states! That tells us that not only did our message reach the community, we must have communicated it well because the community participated with us.
As we have in the previous years, we continuously use qualitative and quantitative research to collect data throughout the project. We have distributed surveys, collected observational data, and pulled statistics about views and engagements on our social media. We have included graphs and charts in our presentation to demonstrate some of the data we have collected.

Our tire planters will remain a focal point of the junior parking lot for years to come. The environmental club and school beautification club have agreed to maintain the flowers. We continue to form new partnerships in our community and through our social media campaign are partners that we will continue to work with for years to come. The community groups have welcomed us and our local businesses continue to assist us as we finish our project.

Unexpected Lessons Learned:
When we first began the campaign we thought we would be mobilizing the community only through our social media posts. Nothing could have been further than the truth. We discovered that in order to mobilize our community we needed to adopt an old-fashioned grass roots campaign. Our students had to call their aunts, uncles, grandparents, etc… and physically ask them to get involved. We also learned that we needed to send people into businesses and not just send an email. We discovered that social media is great to get a message out, but if we want people to physically help us, we need to make a physical connection.

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

Busing – $1600

Total -$1600