Car crashes are the #1 killer of teens ages 15-18. DriveAWARE is committed to saving lives today by enlightening the drivers of tomorrow.

Photo of Summer K
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  • Technology

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  • No

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phone number 901628-3648 or 901-857-9521 Address: P.O. box 382371 Germantown, TN 38183

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Date You Started Your Project Started


Project Stage: Select the description below that best applies to your approach.

  • Growth (have moved past the very first activities; working towards the next level of expansion)

1. The Problem: What problem are you helping to solve?

The leading cause of death- motor vehicle collisions- for American teens remains to be seen as one of the most preventable. Contributing factors, such as a lack of maturity, experience, and parental involvement, steadily exacerbate the perils of the at-risk demographic. Yet, if young adults were given a galvanizing opportunity to master the skills needed for safe driving, it would likely lead to smarter drivers, safer roads, and prolonged lives.

2. Your Solution: How are you planning to solve this problem? Share your specific approach.

DriveAWARE is a driver’s "etiquette" program designed to educate adolescents in grades 6-10. The unforgettable hands-on learning workshops teach adolescents how best to prepare for the most dangerous task of their life- driving. Parents participate alongside their children to better understand the potency of their influence on their child's driving behaviors. We also teach passenger and pedestrian safety to elementary school students as I believe educating students BEFORE tragedy strikes can immensely reduce the likelihood of a life lost- and prevent incarcerations.

3. Personal Journey: What’s the story behind why you decided to start this project?

I first learned of the grave quandary engulfing teenage drivers while conducting research to create a PSA for a related competition. Every statistic was greatly devastating, however, winning 1st place in the contest provided a bit of atonement as it enabled me to raise awareness about the dangers of reckless driving. Sometime later, after being invited to speak at the National Students Against Destructive Decisions (SADD) Conference on the prevalence of this issue, I was awarded a certificate in Leadership. Once my passion for traffic safety education dawned on me, I resolved to act by educating my peers on the impact of negative driving behaviors. Shortly after, DriveAWARE was born.

4. Selfie Elevator Pitch: Include 1-minute video that answers the following “I am stepping up to make change because...” (Note: This was my pitch prior to program launch. However, it's still my antecedent for creating change.)

5. Example: Please walk us through a specific example of what happens when a person or group gets involved with your project.

When a person gets involved, we provide a role and encourage their input on its function and execution. For instance, my friend- a photographer- asked if he could help me with the workshop I conducted last month on Back-to-school pedestrian safety. I happily obliged and showed him pictures from previous sessions, so he could gain a clearer insight as to the essence of the experience he'd capture. I never domineeringly demanded any type of shot or angle to avoid smothering his creative thinking. After the rowdier-than-usual presentation, he shared how my foresight had prepared him to maneuver a crowd of lively youngsters. To me, it elevated his confidence, which subsequently bettered his media quality.

6. The X Factor: What is different about your project compared to other programs or solutions already out there?

Upon hearing my idea, most people immediately hearken it to "driver's ed". Contrary to popular belief, however, driver's education programs do not engender "safer" drivers. Perhaps, this alarming truth can be attributed to the outdated curriculum- which has gone relatively unchanged for over 50 years! Instead of teaching the mechanics of a car, road handling, and state GDL policies, DriveAWARE aims to improve the behavior, decision making skills, and judgment of teen drivers and passengers. Using multi-media presentations, games, and discussions, we encourage enthusiasm instead of uneasiness.

7. Impact: How has your project made a difference so far?

My project has enabled a grant from AAA to provide their PROMise program to high school students in Millington. It's also impacted over 150 youths in Shelby County at churches, schools, honor societies, and more. The most interesting story to me came from a 3rd grader who told me she and her 5 siblings always shared a seatbelt in the car- if they wore one, that is. By the end of the workshop, where she played "musical seatbelt chairs" and listened diligently to the presentation, she unabashedly signed the pledge to always properly wear her seatbelt and encourage others to follow suit.

8. What’s Next: What are your ideas for taking your project to the next level?

The ultimate goal is to facilitate DriveAWARE workshops and events in communities across the U.S. to ensure all students and parents achieve road safety awareness. I hope to do this through both live and virtual experiences by purchasing innovative virtual reality technology to give students the most immersive experience possible.

9. Which of the following types of expertise would be most useful for you?

  • Staff Development

10. Finances: If applicable, have you mobilized any of the following resources so far?

  • Family support
  • Mentors/advisors
  • Donations between $100-$1k

Help Us Support Diversity! Part 1 [optional] Which of the following categories do you identify with?

  • Black or African American (for example: African American, Jamaican, Haitian, Nigerian, Ethiopian, Somalian, etc) (8)

Help Us Support Diversity! Part 2 [optional] Do you identify as part of any of the following underrepresented communities?

  • Communities of color
  • Other

How did you hear about this challenge?

  • Social media


Join the conversation:

Photo of Nita Clark

Fantastic! I believe education on road safety should start way before driving age. What a wonderful concept.

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