When The Goodyear Foundation and Akron Children’s Hospital joined forces to create the Safe Mobility Project in 2015, we became a collective force for good, safety – and change.
For six years, children and families in Summit County have benefitted from the program, which aims to help keep kids safe while they’re on the move. Now, as the project enters its next phase, The Goodyear Foundation is renewing its commitment through a $848,275 grant that will extend its support through 2024.
Building a safer community
The goal of the Safe Mobility Project is to reduce the number of unintentional injuries to children as they make their way through their communities – whether they’re in a vehicle, on foot, or on a bike or other type of wheeled sporting equipment. Akron Children’s team members from the Safe Mobility Project work with community partner organizations to expand child safety programs focusing
on child passenger seats, bike helmets and teen drivers.
“Our Safe Mobility partnership with Akron Children’s has been a natural one from the beginning, because we share a vision of reducing the potential for mobility-related childhood injuries,” said Darren Wells, Goodyear’s executive vice president and CFO, who also serves on the Akron Children’s board of directors. “This ties to both our company purpose of enabling mobility and our philanthropic pillar of safety.”
During Phases 1 and 2 of the initiative, the Safe Mobility Project has:
- Distributed more than 3,100 child passenger seats in combination with safety education.
- Fitted and distributed more than 6,300 bicycle helmets with safety education.
- Reached more than 2,500 caregivers and teenage drivers through its Teen Safe Driving educational
- Facilitated the Teen Safe Driving program at 19 area schools.
- Hosted 96 events in which The Goodyear Foundation’s associates participated as volunteers.
It also has brought these programs to families in their local communities. This helps remove common barriers by meeting them where they live, work and play to provide injury reduction resources and education.
Renewed support advances reach and services
If a word could be used to summarize the next phase of the Safe Mobility Project, it would be growth. With The Goodyear Foundation’s continuing support, the program will enhance its services and expand its reach into neighboring Medina, Portage and Stark counties.
“We’re excited about the expansion outside of Summit County,” said Heather Trnka, MSSL, EMT-P, CPSTI, injury prevention coalition supervisor at Akron Children’s. “It will allow the Safe Mobility Project to bring its great services to new audiences. We look forward to supporting the families in these communities and providing education and tangible items like child passenger seats and bike helmets to
those in highest risk areas for injuries. We’re also looking forward to engaging with our youngest drivers and sharing the importance of distraction-free driving through the Teen Safe Driving program.”
While the program will grow geographically, it also will expand its offerings. The Safe Mobility Project team plans to develop partnerships with four new agencies to increase the proper use of child passenger safety seats. In addition to piloting a teen driver’s license program, there also are plans to leverage the Simulated Impaired Driving Experience (SIDNE) vehicle for the Teen Safe Driving Program at even more schools and community events. And to further its efforts in meeting people where they are, the project will produce a new arrival safety flashcard for non-English-speaking residents.
As the Safe Mobility Project ushers in a new era, The Goodyear Foundation is proud to be with us every step of the way.
“This innovative team has been a pleasure to work with,” said Joni Fitch, director of community affairs
and engagement for Goodyear. “They consistently look for opportunities to adapt the program to serve the changing needs of our communities, staying focused on the outcome of reducing childhood injuries related to mobility.”
Help make your community a safer place for our kids! To learn how you can support the Safe Mobility Project at Akron Children’s, contact Machelle Syx, director of corporate alliances and special events at Akron Children’s, at 330-543-0137 or firstname.lastname@example.org.