Chicago News Weekly (CNW)
February 15, 2023, by Kai El Zabar
When statistics established that teens suffered in large numbers because of a range of automobile injuries to fatal endings, she immediately began processing what can be done to decrease the numbers. "The Teen Ambassador program was created in response to the alarming rate of teen fatalities and injuries from traffic crashes," said Nikki Zollar, Chairman of the SafeLIGHT Foundation. "Because drive inexperience is a leading contributor to crashes and injuries for teen drivers, we partner with law enforcement professionals, schools, and parents to help reinforce safe driving messages to prevent crashes and save lives."
Recently Yvonne Davila, Executive Director of SafeLIGHT Foundation expressed that, to recognize Teen Driving Awareness Month (January), the SafeLIGHT Foundation's Teen Ambassadors hosted a town meeting with their peers at Morton West High School in Berwyn on January 25. Teen Ambassadors Alejandro Davila, Stephanie Ramirez, and Aliana Negron led 80 students in discussion of the risk and responsibilities associated with teen driving.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), motor vehicle crashes are one of the leading causes of death of U.S. teens. About 2,800 teens lost their lives in car crashes in 2020. That's an average of eight teens a day.
The Teen Ambassador program is sponsored by Donate Life Illinois and Gift of Hope. "Donate Life Illinois is honored to partner with the SafeLIGHT Foundation to educate teens on safe driving, along with organ, eye, and tissue donation. This important work that provides teen drivers the opportunity to advocate for themselves and their peers," said Marion Shuck, Chair, of Donate Life Illinois Committee.
The program is also supported by the Illinois Secretary of State's Office, which is a strong advocate of teen driver safety. Donna Bilski, Metro Driver's Education Liaison, attended the Town Hall meeting and spoke to students about the importance of driver's education. The youth-driven event featured award-winning journalist, reporter, author and public speaker Maudlyne Iherjirika as the moderator for the town hall meeting.
The much-needed SafeLIGHT Foundation is a nonprofit organization committed to promoting safe driving behavior through charitable giving to traffic safety programs and people and organizations that support responsible driving. Safety rules and insight regarding drivers' education are the foundation's main purposes. SafeLIGHT's goals to establish a more informed and responsible teen driver in the state of Illinois can make a huge difference in driving those injury and fatalities numbers down.
Davila announced that applications are now being accepted for the SafeLIGHT Foundation's 2023-24 Teen Ambassador Program. Members of the program use their leadership skills to serve as safe driving ambassadors with their high school communities to promote and encourage responsible driving. Teen Ambassadors who graduate from the program will earn college scholarships.
For more information about the program, including eligibility requirements, visit https://www.safelightfoundation.com/teen-ambassador-program