NASELLE - Street Smarts presented an assembly to ninth through 12 graders at Naselle High School on Monday, Nov. 1. The assembly was paid for by our local Washington State Patrol by a grant.

For young adults, life on the streets for beginning drivers can be quite frightening and very intimidating at times. Many teenagers find themselves literally at a fork in the road. The question is either to drive responsible or to drive carefree with the intents of impressing their peers. It all comes to down to using good judgment.

The public school system does an excellent job in educating our children on everyday life management skills and teaching our young adults about modern-day, safe driving techniques in driver education classes. These are critical first steps towards molding our students into safe and responsible drivers. However, today's competitive students are facing greater challenges in the everyday popularity contest. These types of issues and peer pressure are chronic problems that can steer teenagers into making poor choices. Educators and community leaders constantly ask ourselves, "Are we doing enough?"

That's where S.A.F.E. comes in. "Our coalition of local firefighter/paramedics is dedicated to educating students about the dangers and consequences of poor driving practices. S.A.F.E. supports and reinforces our public educators in a unique way. Our powerful message clearly demonstrates to students that trauma can happen to anyone at anytime. We show them that no one is immune from these grim statistics, especially their age group."

This isn't just a public education problem; it is a community problem that occurs nationwide. The school system and S.A.F.E. cannot handle this problem alone. According to the State Patrol, "It is going to take the support of strong community leaders and local businesses to be an active participant. This can be done through S.A.F.E.'s School Sponsorship Program. The School Sponsorship Program is a way for local business leaders to adopt a school. By sponsoring a school, your business or organization can provide your local high school or college with as little as one day worth of S.A.F.E. workshops or up to an entire year. Contact the school for more information."

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