Last year, students from Wilton High School Video Production Club collaborated on the production of a series of videos, posters, pamphlets and other promotional material for the cause of safe driving among teenagers. Their efforts led to the creation of a 5K race that took place in April earlier this year. Now the students have improved their efforts even more by organizing their 2nd Annual Ahead for Safe Driving 5K Race race that will take place Saturday, October 1 at 10 a.m. at Merwin Meadows.
A second wind
The students again organized the event with the help of two high school teachers. Maria Naeem, social studies teacher and Video Production Club advisor, helped students create promotional content and guided their efforts against distracted driving. Caitlin Schmidt, business professor and advisor to the Wilton Chapter of THIS SIDEa national high school and collegiate club for business and entrepreneurship, helped students market the event and secure sponsorships from local businesses.
Senior Timothy Martin, a member of the Video Club’s board of directors, explained that the students hope to benefit from their experience starting in April. “Last year we had a great turnout but it was really hard to get it off the ground for us. So now that we’re making it an annual event we really hope the turnout can be even better this year and that we can have a greater impact.
Naeem supported the decision and agreed that the October date was more conducive to attracting runners than holding it in April.
Second year, new cause
When the idea of Race for safe driving was originally designed with one goal: to promote safe driving among teenagers. Senior Jeanette Rosenthal, the president of the video club, pointed out that one in four fatal accidents involves a person between the ages of 16 and 24. “As teenage drivers ourselves, we hear so many stories of people in danger, so we thought this was a great cause to support.”
Martin spoke from experience of the impact videos can have on teens as a target audience.
“We’ve been doing content inspired by safe driving for a while now, and the first time we did it was right when I got my license, and saw my own mate from class driving too fast and looking at your phone while driving. . It really bothered me and it coincided with our safe driving stuff,” he said, adding that he believed everyone’s safety, in especially of his classmates, was very important on the roads.
Although the band donated all funds raised from last year’s event to support Wilton Police Officer Elise Ackermanfight against cancer, this year the students have found another cause to support. Continuing the tradition of raising awareness of safe driving and raising funds for a charitable cause, this year the money raised by the event will go to first candle. Based in New Canaan and run by a Wilton resident Alison Jacobson as CEO/Executive Director, First Candle is a non-profit organization committed to ending Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) and other sleep-related infant deaths, while supporting families who have been affected by such tragedies.
Martin noted that there is widespread support among Video Club students for this cause. “In the video club, we all felt that the predicament of infant death is really something that we all have compassion for.” Ultimately, Martin said, not only are the students working for a good cause, but “we also get to practice using the skills we’re learning, like creating visually interesting posters.”
To register for the event, go to event website. The first 100 registrants will receive free items.