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SCHOOLS INVITED TO APPLY FOR GRANTS

From First Niagara Bank Foundation and Sean’s Run

Hudson, September 21, 2006 - The First Niagara Bank Foundation and the organizers of Sean’s Run have announced the availability of cash grants to support creative school-based programs that address the problems of underage drinking, impaired driving and teens’ lax use of seatbelts. In the past three years, the moneys raised at Sean’s Run through sponsorships, donations and entry fees has been given to schools around the region to fund 29 different projects totaling $22,400.

Organizations eligible to apply for grants ranging from $250 to $500 include SADD chapters (Students Against Destructive Decisions), MADD Chapters (Mothers Against Drunk Driving) and RID Chapters (Remove Intoxicated Drivers) in the 10-county region that includes Columbia, Dutchess, Greene, Albany, Rensselaer, Schenectady, Saratoga, Fulton and Montgomery counties in New York and Berkshire County in Massachusetts.

This past April, SADD chapters at Taconic Hills, Germantown and Chatham were awarded grants. Also SADD chapters at Amsterdam, Averill Park, Berlin, Hoosick Falls, Scotia-Glenville received funding, as did MADD of the Capital District.

Sean’s Run, an annual community event held at Chatham High School, attracts hundreds of participants from throughout the region on the last Sunday of April, and includes a 5K and 1 Mile run/walk, a Prevention Educational Expo, a Tribute to Victims and Survivors of drunken driving, and the World Championship Battle of the Belts.

Carl Florio, President of First Niagara Bank’s Eastern Region, in announcing the grants program noted, “First Niagara Bank Foundation is the Presenting Sponsor of Sean’s Run because we think the event and the programs it funds are a great way to reach young people and encourage them to make safe choices when it comes to driving.”

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, motor vehicle crashes are the number one cause of teen deaths. In 2003, 38% of these fatalities involved alcohol and nearly 2/3 of all teens that perished in car crashes were not using seat belts.

School SADD chapters in 110 schools across the ten-county region have been sent invitations to submit proposals using an application that is also available at the SeansRun.com website. Applications are due by December 2, 2006.

Jeff French, Chairman of Sean’s Run, said “With the generous support of First Niagara Bank Foundation we are able to encourage innovative activities that aim to reduce the number of teens who consume alcohol, ride with an impaired driver, drink and drive, or fail to use their seatbelts.”

In their invitation to apply for funding, the Sean’s Run organizing committee has designated a number of preferred uses of the grant funds. The first involves covering a portion of the costs for schools to implement AlcoholEdu™ For High Schools, a web-based 3-hour course that incorporates proven prevention techniques with essential science-based alcohol education. The project is endorsed by Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD).

As a second priority, schools may apply for grant funds to cover costs of producing a Battle of the Belts. This is a fun and fast-paced seatbelt buckling competition that encourages increased use of safety belts by teenagers.

The Committee, the Memorial Run/Walk and the grants program were established in response to the tragic death of Sean Patrick French, the 17-year old Chatham High School junior, honor roll student, community volunteer and record-setting athlete who was killed on January 1, 2002, as a passenger on a drunk-driving car crash. Another passenger, 17-year old Ian Moore, sustained paralyzing injuries. The driver, a 17-year old, had previously been arrested for drunk driving just 18 days prior to the fatal crash.

This tragedy prompted the enactment of Sean’s Law on January 1, 2003 that requires the suspension of a license upon the first arrest of a 16 or 17 year old on drunken driving charges.

For more information, contact Jeff French at 672-4757.

 

 

 

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