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Sean’s Run Grants Awarded

Chatham, January 23, 2016 - First Niagara Bank and the organizers of Sean’s Run have selected 16 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 have been awarded up to $650 each to implement the Battle of the Belts, a fun and fast moving activity designed by the Sean’s Run Weekend Organizing Committee to increase teens’ use of seatbelts. 

First Niagara Bank is the Presenting Sponsor of Sean’s Run Weekend. 

Voted as ‘Best Community Event-Spring’ in a contest by the Columbia County Chamber of Commerce and the Register Star, Sean’s Run is an annual community event that includes a 5K, Meghan’s Mile, Bike Rides, Zumbathon and a run for Special Needs Kids. The 15th Annual Sean’s Run will be held at Chatham High School on Saturday and Sunday, April 23 and 24.  The event’s organizing committee is preparing for 1,400 participants in the 5K and 1 Mile events and 250 in the Bike Rides. 

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

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.

Kelli Arnold, Senior Vice President, Eastern NY Market Executive, First Niagara Bank, when announcing the availability of the grants stated “First Niagara commends Sean’s Run for their work and dedication to helping our children in our communities. We are pleased to take part in this important initiative.”

Motor vehicle crashes according to the Center for Disease Control, are the leading cause of death for U.S. teens.  The statistics are alarming.  In 2013, six teens ages 16–19 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 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 – Chatham High School and Chatham Middle School, Hudson HS, New Lebanon MS, Taconic Hills HS.  In Montgomery County – Fonda-Fultonville HS.  Rensselaer County – Algonquin MS, Averill Park HS and Maple Hill HS.  In Saratoga County – Shenendehoa HS. In Schenectady County – Mohonasen HS.  In Dutchess County – Pine Plains Stissing Mountain High School and the Dutchess County Council on Addition Prevention and Education. 

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 sponsorship makes this grant making program possible.  Thanks to their generosity we can offer the 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.”

Over the past eleven years, Sean’s Run has awarded 125 grants to schools and youth groups.

The 15th  Annual Sean’s Run 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 www.SeansRun.com or by calling Jeff French at 672-4757.

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