Mock crash with firefighters

New Web Site Helps VT Schools Host Safety Fairs; Grant Program Offered

BURLINGTON: July 24, 2017 The Youth Safety Council of Vermont in collaboration with Mt. Abraham Union High School has published a how-to guide for Vermont high schools that describes how Mt. Abe produced a campus-wide safety fair:

On Friday, May 5 Mt. Abraham Union High School hosted presentations by numerous organizations, creating a day-long, campus-wide event with a ‘personal safety’ theme for 400 students in grades 9-12. The fair, developed through the school year by faculty and students in partnership with the Youth Safety Council of Vermont, showcased safety knowledge from across the state.

The safety fair presented more than 25 workshops, presentations and speakers indoors and out. Participants in the fair included the Vermont State Police presenting forensic crash reconstruction techniques; a motorcycle simulator shared by Ride Safe VT, and Sharon Huntley speaking about the tragic loss of her teen son, Spencer, in a distraction-related crash. The Youth Safety Council presented ‘Turn Off Texting,’ with students driving a golf cart while texting to learn first-hand how dangerous distracted driving can be. Many organizations including the Vermont Department of Health, UVM Medical Center, Alive at 25, Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department, AAA Northern New England, AT&T, WomenSafe, Fire Pro Tec, Bristol Rescue, Bristol Police, and others presented information and interacted with students. A mock crash was the central educational experience of the fair, presented by the Mt. Abraham students in conjunction with Bristol Fire, Police and Rescue Departments.

With the assistance of Heritage Toyota, faculty, students and volunteers helped document the event to create the new online reference guide. The new guide is intended to help other Vermont high schools produce similar safety fairs with confidence and easy access to many freely available safety programs.

Heritage Toyota has also created a grant program to encourage Vermont schools to produce their own safety fairs. For any schools who would like to offer a safety fair in the 2017-2018 academic year, Heritage Toyota is proud to offer a $250 grant incentive. The purpose of the grant is to fund the efforts of the schools to plan an educational event focused on teen driving safety. Interested schools can visit to fill out the form and start the process. Bethany Sargent, Marketing Manager of Heritage Automotive Group said, “We are so proud to help schools bring important safety information to their students. Being committed to our communities means being committed to the health and well-being of our next generation of drivers. We feel fortunate to be able to get involved and support schools with this endeavor.”

Sharon Koller, Student Assistance Program Counselor at Mt. Abraham and advisor to the student “VTLSP” club (Vermont Teen Leadership Safety Program), facilitated the event planning. James Lockridge, Executive Director of the Youth Safety Council of Vermont, said, “Mt. Abraham has contributed energy and wisdom to help schools across Vermont guide their students toward safe decision-making, behind the wheel and in their daily lives. The school and community came together like champions to create this new empowering resource. The experience makes us proud to serve such a caring and proactive state.”

The project was inspired by the work of the Vermont Highway Safety Alliance (VHSA), a non-profit organization that brings together highway safety stakeholders from all over Vermont, including state agencies and law enforcement as well as federal partners, insurance companies, and nonprofit organizations, Glen Button, Chair of the VHSA, said, “This initiative clearly shows the positive results from the collaboration amongst our many highway safety partners. The all-day safety fair at Mount Abraham High School was a great success and has set the standard for all Vermont high schools to achieve. The how-to-guide will help schools meet this goal.”

Contact: James Lockridge,, (802) 881-9050

About Mt. Abraham Union High School: Mt. Abraham is a Grades 7-12 public middle/high school in the village of Bristol, serving the Five Town district of Bristol, Lincoln, Monkton, New Haven, and Starksboro. Mt. Abraham is part of the Addison Northeast Supervisory Union (ANESU) and works to create and maintain a stimulating and respectful environment in which all are engaged, all pursue and promote learning, and all participate as active, responsible citizens.

About the Youth Safety Council of VT: The YSCVT uses golf carts and an advanced driving simulator to demonstrate the dangers of distraction to Vermont’s student drivers. With support from the Governor’s Highway Safety Program and sponsors, the ‘Turn Off Texting’ program is free to high schools and community groups statewide.

About Heritage Toyota: As part of the Heritage Automotive Group, Heritage Toyota has been a part of the Vermont community since 1994. Known for Toyota sales and service, Heritage Toyota is committed to creating the best quality customer experience as well as contributing to the health, safety and success of the communities in which they do business.

Photo: A mock crash at the Mt. Abraham UHS safety fair. Photo by Leeya Tudek.