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First Niagara Bank and Sean’s Run Offering Grants

October 25, 2012 - First Niagara Bank and the organizers of Sean’s Run have announced the availability of cash grants for youth organizations and schools to implement the fun and fast paced Battle of the Belts, a youth activity designed to increase teens’ use of seatbelts. The grants are made possible through First Niagara Bank’s sponsorship of Sean’s Run. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, car crashes are the number one cause of death for teens; nearly 2/3 of those who perish were not using safety belts. 

Gina Lombardo, First Vice President/Area manager First Niagara Bank, stated “First Niagara commends Sean’s Run for their work and dedication to helping our children in our communities”

Jeff French, Chairman of Sean’s Run, said “Thanks to First Niagara we are able to again offer this opportunity and innovative approach to reduce the number of teens who fail to use their seatbelts.”

School groups and youth organizations such as Scouts, 4-H, church groups and sports teams, may apply for up to $500 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 the 12th Annual Sean’s Run Weekend, April 27 and 28, 2013 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, 2012.

First Niagara is the Presenting Sponsor of Sean’s Run Weekend, an annual event that focuses on the problems of underage drinking, impaired driving and teens’ lax use of seat belts.  In addition to the bank’s financial support, each year bank employees volunteer help to produce the weekend of activities which includes one of the largest community run/walk events in the entire region.  In the past bank employees have also designated Sean’s Run as a “Top 12 Charity” donating the proceeds from an employee monthly “Jeans Friday”  fund raiser. 

The Register Star and Chatham Courier are Media Sponsors of Sean’s Run.

The weekend’s Saturday activities in 2013 will include the Super Saturday Run for Special Needs Kids, a Zumbathon® and the first ever Sean’s Run Fun Group Bike Rides, featuring 20 and 50-mile noncompetitive rides.

Sunday’s activities include the 5K and Meghan’s Mile which saw 1,375 registrants in the two run/walk events last spring. Sunday activities also include the World Championship Battle of the Belts, a tribute to victims and survivors of drunk driving and a Prevention Education Expo.

$160,950 has been contributed as grants and scholarships by Sean’s Run over the past 11 years thanks to generous sponsors and contributors. Over 100 programs that encourage safe driving have received grants from Sean’s Run and 80 college bound high school seniors have been awarded scholarships since the first event in 2002.

The Battle of the Belts seatbelt buckling contest involves teams of four teens who run to a 4-door car and quickly get into their seats. They all buckle up, raise 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.

Sean’s Run was founded in 2002 following the tragic death of Sean Patrick French, a 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.  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. 






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