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First Niagara Awards Sean’s Run Grants

March 8, 2013 -
First Niagara Bank and the organizers of Sean’s Run Weekend have selected 14 groups, including schools, youth groups and regional organizations, to receive grants to implement programs designed to combat underage drinking, impaired driving and lax use of seatbelts by teenagers. 

The schools and youth groups will use their $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. 

Gina Lombardo, First Niagara’s Vice President/ Area Manager, in announcing the grants stated, “First Niagara commends Sean’s Run for their dedication to helping the young adults in our communities. We believe that the awareness and education created through this excellent event is helping to create a safer environment and help to save lives for all the people in our communities, and we at First Niagara are proud to once again be a part of this great event.”

First Niagara Bank is the Presenting Sponsor of Sean’s Run Weekend, an annual community multi-sport event held at Chatham High School on April 27 and 28.  The event’s organizing committee is preparing for 1,500 participants over the two days registering in one or more of the activities including the all-new Bike Rides,   Zumbathon®, or group run for kids with special needs on Saturday, and the 5K or 1 Mile run/walk events on Sunday. 

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

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 had until December 1st to apply for the funding.

Car crashes, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) continue to be the leading cause of death for teens.  The statistics are alarming - in 2009, every day eight teens ages 16 to 19 died from motor vehicle injuries. The Center for Injury Research and Prevention has found that nearly 2/3 of those who perish were not using safety belts. 

Per mile driven, drivers ages 16 to 19 are four times more likely than older drivers to crash (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration).  Alcohol consumption greatly increases the likelihood that teens will forego use of seatbelts; nearly three out of every four teen drivers killed in motor vehicle crashes after drinking and driving were not wearing a seat belt. (CDC)

Those awarded grants include: In Columbia County – Hudson High, Chatham High and Chatham Middle School. In Rensselaer County – Averill Park, Berlin, Maple Hill High and Middle schools and the RAAD Coalition. In Dutchess County – Pine Plains Stissing Mountain High School and the Dutchess County Council on Addition Prevention and Education.  In Montgomery County – Lynch Literacy Academy, Amsterdam. 

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

Jeff French, Chairman of Sean’s Run, said “First Niagara’s generosity allows us to offer this funding to encourage schools and youth groups to implement the Battle of the Belts as an innovative activity to reduce the number of teens who fail to use their seatbelts.”

In 12 years Sean’s Run has awarded $172,500 in grants and scholarships thanks to the generosity of sponsors and participants.

The 12th Annual Sean’s Run Weekend will also 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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