Gillespie High School Impact Team in Drive Safe Chicago
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Gillespie High School Students Champion Safe Driving

April 19, 2024 2 min read
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During Distracted Driving Awareness Month this April, students at Gillespie High School are taking proactive steps to raise awareness and cultivate safe driving practices within their community. Through Youth as Solutions Project Ignition, a nationally recognized service-learning program led by the National Youth Leadership Council (NYLC), Gillespie students are actively engaging in efforts to enhance road safety and empower their peers to drive responsibly.

Gillespie High School is just one of the twenty teams across the country that are tackling teen driver safety through Youth as Solution’s Project Ignition program. “Project Ignition empowers students to save lives through youth-led campaigns that make measurable differences in their schools and communities,” stated Amy Meuers, NYLC CEO. “Gillespie students are an exemplary example of the power of young people.”

Led by Jennifer Brown, an experienced educator and adult mentor for the school’s Impact Team, Gillespie students are at the forefront of promoting safe driving practices among young drivers. Junior students like Traegen, Madilyn, Kennedy, and Bailee have spearheaded various projects aimed at educating their peers about the dangers of distracted driving. From seat belt checks to mock crashes and participation in Drive Safe Chicago, these students have been instrumental in driving the message home. By organizing events such as mock trials at the county courthouse and partnering with organizations like 4-H, they shed light on the devastating effects of distracted driving and emphasize the importance of making responsible choices behind the wheel.

Exhibit Hall Photo

Sophomore students, including Lucas, Emily, and Claire, have taken their efforts a step further by engaging with middle and elementary school students. Through interactive activities, fun days, and even Halloween dances, they share important safety messages and promote a culture of responsible driving from a young age.

Reflecting on their experiences, students emphasize the critical skills they have developed through service-learning, including teamwork, public speaking, organization, problem-solving, and responsibility. These skills not only prepare them for future success but also empower them to become advocates for change in their communities. The students also shared their commitment to continuing their advocacy efforts beyond high school. Whether they pursue careers in safe driving advocacy or apply their skills in other fields, one thing is clear: their experiences through Project Ignition have equipped them with the tools and confidence to make a positive impact in the world around them.

As we recognize Distracted Driving Awareness Month, we thank Gillespie High School and all the Project Ignition teams for their dedication, leadership, and commitment to promoting road safety.

Youth as Solutions is now accepting applications for the 2024-25 school year. Youth as Solutions is creating a generation of citizens who are passionate about making a positive impact in their schools and communities. Youth as Solutions teams–consisting of one adult leader and at least two youth leaders–can apply to address one of our core impact areas, such as teen driver safety, education equity, environmental justice, and more. Explore the Youth as Solutions program and apply to be part of this important work here.