First Niagara Awards Sean’s Run Grants
February 6, 2009 - First Niagara Bank Foundation and the organizers of Sean’s
Run recently announced the names of the schools and youth organizations
to be awarded $500 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 Eastern
Region President, Thomas Amell, presents $10,000 to the organizers
of Sean’s Run. The funds from the Bank are used to award grants
to schools, organizations and youth groups in the region to implement
programs designed at increasing teenagers’ use of seat belts.
First Niagara Bank has been the Presenting Sponsor of Sean’s
Run for the past five years.
First Niagara Bank 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.
Winners include the following: In Columbia County
– the Hudson City Department of Youth, Taconic Hills, Reality
Check of Columbia and Greene Counties, Chatham High and Chatham
Middle Schools. In Albany County - Berne Knox Westerlo High School.
In Rensselaer County – Berlin and Hoosick Falls High Schools.
In Schenectady County – Mohonasen High School. In Dutchess
County – Pine Plains High School and the Dutchess County Council
on Addition Prevention and Education. In Delaware County –
Charlotte Valley High School. In Montgomery County – Amsterdam
High School, Lynch Literacy Academy and Fonda-Fultonville High School.
In Ulster County – Mt. Marion school.
In addition, $500 grants will be awarded to Mothers
Against Drunk Driving (MADD), Remove Intoxicated Drivers (RID) and
Choices 301, to support projects aimed at combating underage drinking
and impaired driving.
Over the past six years, the money raised at Sean’s
Run has been donated to support 75 programs. In addition, funds
raised at Sean’s Run have supported college scholarships to
48 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 because it is the right
thing to do.”
The eighth annual Sean’s Run, scheduled for
Sunday, April 26, 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 has recognized Sean’s Run as an innovative approach
to addressing the problem of teens’ failure to use seatbelts.
Jeff French, Chairman of Sean’s Run, said
“First Niagara Bank 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 at the website
www.SeansRun.com or by calling Jeff French at 672-4757.