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First Niagara Awards Sean’s Run Grants

February 1, 2008 — First Niagara Bank Foundation and the organizers of Sean’s Run recently announced the names of the schools and youth organizations to be awarded cash grants to implement the Battle of the Belts, a fun and fast moving activity designed by the Sean’s Run Organizing Committee to increase teens’ use of seatbelts. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, car crashes are the number one cause of death for teens and nearly 2/3 of those who perish were not using safety belts.

First Niagara Bank Foundation is the Presenting Sponsor of Sean’s Run, the annual community event held at Chatham High School that attracts hundreds of participants from throughout the region on the last Sunday of April. The money raised at Sean’s Run is invested in programs at schools and youth organizations selected through a competitive application process. Schools and youth groups in 9-counties surrounding Columbia County were sent invitations in September to apply for funding.

Grant winners include the following:

  • Columbia County – the Hudson City Department of Youth, Taconic Hills, Hawthorne Valley and Chatham High Schools.
  • Albany County Berne Knox Westerlo High School
    and Families Together, Inc.
  • Rensselaer County - Berlin, Averill Park and
    Hoosick Falls High Schools.
  • Schenectady County – Mohonasen High School.
  • Dutchess County – Red Hook BSA Troop 42 and
    Pine Plains High School.
  • Montgomery County – Amsterdam High School, Lynch Literacy Academy and Fonda Fultonville High School.

In addition, grants will be awarded to Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD), Remove Intoxicated Drivers (RID) and Capital District Parents Who Host Loose the Most, to support projects aimed at combating underage drinking and impaired driving.

Over the past five years, the money raised at Sean’s Run has been donated to support 56 programs, totaling $34,300. In addition, funds raised at Sean’s Run have supported college scholarships totaling $25,000 presented to 38 young people.

Thomas Amell, Eastern New York Regional President for First Niagara in announcing the grants program noted, “The Battle of the Belts is a great way to reach young people and underscore the importance of always using seatbelts. First Niagara Bank Foundation is the Presenting Sponsor of Sean’s Run because we believe that investing in the safety of our teens is good business.”

The seventh annual Sean’s Run, scheduled for Sunday, April 27, will include 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 interscholastic seatbelt bucking contest.

The New York State Governor’s Traffic Safety Committee invited the Sean’s Run organizers to present a workshop about the Battle of the Belts during the State’s annual traffic safety conference held this past October in Lake Placid. County Traffic Safety Boards, STOP DWI Coordinators and police agencies from around the state attended the conference.

Jeff French, Chairman of Sean’s Run, said “First Niagara Bank Foundation makes it possible for us to provide seed money that encourages schools and youth groups to try this innovative activity to reduce the number of teens who fail to use their seatbelts.”

Sean’s Run 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.

More information is available on this website here, or by calling Jeff French at 672-4757.





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