TEEN AMBASSADOR PROGRAM
There is always an opportunity for kindness
Teen Ambassadors Ads:
2023 National Teen Driver Safety Week
Welcome Aboard 2023-24 Teen Ambassadors!
The SafeLIGHT Foundation welcomed its 2023-24 class of Teen Ambassadors with an orientation on Aug. 19. Chicago-area students in the program 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.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), motor vehicle crashes are one of the leading causes of death for 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 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 driver 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.”
The Teen Ambassador program is sponsored by Donate Life Illinois and Gift of Hope. The program is also supported by the Illinois Secretary of State’s Office, which is a strong advocate of teen driver safety.
This year’s class includes students from Southland College Prep in Richton Park, Morton West in Berwyn, Alan B. Shepard in Palos Heights, Mother McAuley in Chicago and Marian Catholic in Chicago Heights.
The 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.
Teen Ambassador Program
The Teen Ambassador program is a partnership between the SafeLIGHT Foundation, selected area schools and law enforcement. Participants in the program are selected by these entities.
The program is sponsored by the Illinois Secretary of State's Office, Gift of Hope and Donate Life Illinois.
There are nearly 1.3 million accidents involving teen drivers, making it the number one killer of teens in America. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, in 2019, crashes involving teen drivers killed 2,042 people. To address this critical issue, the SafeLIGHT Foundation has developed a teen driving program, “Teen Ambassador,” which is intended to provide continuing safe driving education to new teens who have received their drivers' licenses.
The Teen Ambassador program is a full year-long program where participants are required to complete simple steps and comply with certain rules in order to graduate from the program successfully. Each participant must sign a driving agreement and adhere to the SafeLIGHT Foundation’s rules and regulations on safe driving behavior. Additionally, participants must use a small GPS-enabled device that is plugged into the car’s diagnostic port while driving. This device tracks the participant’s driving behavior, including car speed, location, acceleration, etc. This program generates weekly online reports which the SafeLIGHT Foundation will use to monitor the participant’s adherence to the rules of the road. If the report reveals abuse from the participant, he or she receives a warning. If other abuses are identified in any future report, the participant is dismissed from the Teen Ambassador program.
We ask that each teen serve as a Traffic Safety Ambassador within their high school community by not only developing and practicing good driving skills, but by sharing and encouraging others in their schools to do the same.
In connection with the Teen Ambassador program, the SafeLIGHT Foundation:
Collaborates with law enforcement and high schools to provide lectures on traffic safety;
Provides scholarships for safe teen drivers who complete the Teen Ambassador program;
Works with schools to create safe driving seminars;
Works with local officials to develop and advocate for policies and legislation to minimize the effects of road rage;
Partners with one or more driving schools to help pay the tuition of driving lessons for low-income students;
Creates awareness campaigns with the Teen Ambassadors focusing on seasonal events (e.g. prom season and back to school); and
Provides opportunities for the Teen Ambassadors to participate in events and programs associated with driving, such as the Chicago Auto Show Gala.
Teen Ambassador Program Eligibility
Scholarships are offered to graduates of the Teen Ambassador program who pursue educational degrees at any four-year colleges or universities. Accordingly, to be eligible for a Teen Ambassador program scholarship, an individual must first have satisfied and completed all requirements of the Teen Ambassador program. The completion requirements are:
Be a teenager who has received his or her driver’s license;
Has a clean driving record at the end of the program;
Has a tracking device at all times while driving;
Has served as a Traffic Safety Ambassador in his or her high school community; and
Has passed the SafeLIGHT Foundation’s traffic safety examination in conjunction with the Illinois Secretary of State’s Office.
An individual will not be eligible for the Teen Program if he or she:
Has received a moving violation, red light violation, or has been ticketed for driving under the influence;
Has caused a traffic accident;
Has been arrested or has outstanding warrants;
Fails to maintain a grade point average of 2.8 or higher;
Is on academic probation; or
Submits false information.