At Belton High School, a Project Ignition school in Belton, Mo., students are saving teen lives through a campaign to educate about the importance of seatbelt usage. In partnership with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, NYLC’s Project Ignition program empowers students across the nation to lead service-learning projects that change habits about safe driving behavior.
Led by students, Belton’s Project Ignition campaign is built to engage peers meaningfully, in ways that capture their interests and spark reflection.
“Our campaign will include a seatbelt click-it competition where teams of four students will rotate through driver and passenger seats to buckle-up as fast as possible. A stationary seatbelt selfie contest will be held and permanent ‘Belts on in Belton’ signs will be placed at all elementary school pick-up locations, as well,” said Mary Cummings, an educator at Belton. Reaching their peers has not always come easily, however, “experimenting with several tactics to make our efforts get through to peers has been challenging – they have been stubborn in the past.”
Engaging with the K-12 Service-Learning Standards for Quality Practice has contributed to breaking down those barriers. “Our project engages with Reflection because we are constantly analyzing and editing our service-learning practice, and it engages with Diversity by appealing to different learning styles. Alongside the other Standards, we will focus on changing unsafe driving habits rather than using scare tactics,” said Cummings.
For Belton, Youth Voice is the most important Standard of all, and has led to several successes. “For the past two years, our program has been placed in the Battle of the Belt competition, and this year we have recruited the largest number of members ever.” To maximize project impact and effectiveness, Belton maximizes the voice of its youth.