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Sean’s Run and First Niagara Bank Foundation
Present Grants

November 1, 2007 — Youth organizations and schools across the region are invited to apply for cash grants from First Niagara Bank Foundation and the organizers of Sean’s Run to implement a fun and fast moving activity, the Battle of the Belts, that is designed 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 is the Presenting Sponsor of Sean’s Run, an annual community event that focuses on the problems of underage drinking, impaired driving and teens’ lax use of seat belts. It is held at Chatham High School and attracts hundreds that participate in a 5K and one mile run/walk and also includes a tribute to victims and survivors of drunk driving, a Prevention Education Expo and the World Championship Battle of the Belts seat belt buckling contest for teens.

The money raised at Sean’s Run through sponsorships and other contributions is awarded to organizations and schools to fund programs that encourage safe driving. In the past four years cash awards have been presented to support 38 projects totaling $26,900.

Up to thirty (30) schools and youth organizations such as scouts, 4-H, church groups and sports teams, will be awarded $400 each to implement a Battle of the Belts seatbelt buckling contest and send teams to participate in the World Championship Battle of the Belts at Sean’s Run next April at Chatham High School. Instructions for youth groups and schools to submit a one-page application are available at Applications are due by December 1, 2007.

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 Foundation is the Presenting Sponsor of Sean’s Run because we believe that investing in the safety of our teens makes good sense.”

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

When the Battle begins, teams take turns buckling up. At the start, a team of four teenagers runs to a 4-door car and they jump in. They all buckle up, throw their hands in the air and a Referee shouts "Rotate!" They unbuckle, get out, run clockwise to the next seat, get in, and buckle up again. The team with the fastest time, after the 4th buckle, is declared the winner. There are awards for the fastest teams, for teams with the loudest cheering sections, best t-shirts and best team names. The Buckle-Up Bettys is a favorite of the Organizing Committee.







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