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First Niagara Awards Sean’s Run Grants

March 1, 2015 - First Niagara Bank and the Organizing Committee of Sean’s Run Weekend have selected 17 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 grants are funded from the proceeds of last year’s Sean’s Run Weekend.  The schools and youth groups will use their 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. 

Those awarded grants include: In Columbia County – Hudson High School, New Lebanon Central School, Chatham High and Chatham Middle School.  In Rensselaer County – Algonquin MS, Averill Park HS, Maple Hill High and Maple Middle school. 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 – Fonda Fultonville HS Student Government.  In Saratoga County – Shenendehowa HS SADD.

First Niagara Bank is the Presenting Sponsor of Sean’s Run Weekend, an annual community event at Chatham High School on the last weekend in April.  The event’s organizing committee is preparing for over 1,600 participants in the various activities planned for the weekend which include 10-, 20- and 50-mile bikes rides, a Zumbathon® and a group run for kids with special needs on Saturday and the 5K and mile run/walk, Prevention Education Expo and Battle of the Belts 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 by the Sean’s Run Organizing Committee in two areas of focus: 1) programs at schools and youth organizations across the region, and 2) scholarships to deserving seniors from the capital area.  

$195,506 has been contributed by Sean’s Run since 2002 to support 145 grants to school and 92 scholarships to college bound high school seniors.

Car crashes, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), were the leading cause of death for teens during the period 1999 – 2012.  The statistics are alarming - in 2009, eight teens ages 16 to 19 died every day 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 teenage drivers killed in motor vehicle crashes after drinking and driving were not wearing a seat belt. (CDC)

In addition, 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, reports “First Niagara’s sponsorship makes this grant making program possible to help us 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 in an underage drunk-driving car crash.  Sean was not wearing a seatbelt at the time of the crash.

More information is available at the website or by calling Jeff French at 672-4757.









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