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First Niagara and Sean’s Run Name Grant Winners

February 12, 2010 - First Niagara Bank and the organizers of Sean’s Run have 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 is the Presenting Sponsor of Sean’s Run, an annual community run/walk held at Chatham High School on the last Sunday of April. The event’s organizing committee is preparing for 1,500 participants in the 5K and 1 Mile events on April 25.

The money raised at Sean’s Run from sponsorships, contributions and participant entry fees 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.

Those awarded grants include: In Columbia County – Germantown Central School, Hudson City Department of Youth, Hudson Valley Youth Action on Tobacco, Chatham High and Chatham Middle Schools. In Rensselaer County – Averill Park, Berlin, Columbia and Hoosick Falls High Schools and the Schodack/Castleton Community Partnership. In Schenectady County – Mohonasen High School. In Dutchess County – Pine Plains Stissing Mountain High School and the Dutchess County Council on Addition Prevention and Education. In Montgomery County – Amsterdam High School, Lynch Literacy Academy and Fonda-Fultonville High School.

In addition, $500 grants will be awarded to each of three regional organizations dedicated to combating underage drinking and impaired driving. These include Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD), Remove Intoxicated Drivers (RID) and Choices 301.

Thomas Amell, President of First Niagara Bank Eastern Region said, "First Niagara is proud to be associated with Sean's Run and the French family and we wholeheartedly feel that their effort is having a dramatic positive impact on the safety of our children.  We appreciate the opportunity to be a partner in this effort and look forward to continuing the education of the children in our community on the risks associated with making the wrong choices.”

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

Over the past seven years, Sean’s Run has awarded 84 grants to schools and youth groups.

In addition to the 5K and 1 Mile run/walk, the 9th Annual Sean’s Run will include 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.

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 or by calling Jeff French at 672-4757.





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