Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Car Wars!

The mission of KEEP KIDS ALIVE DRIVE 25® is to 
make streets safer for all who walk, ride, play, and drive. 

The definition of war is, "a state of armed conflict between different nations or states or different groups within a nation or state." Considering this definition, when it comes to practicing unsafe driving behaviors, are we, as motorists armed with cars, trucks, and motorcycles, at war with ourselves within our nation, committed to exacting the highest possible toll of injuries and fatalities?

It is a question worth asking since our behaviors behind the wheel overwhelmingly contribute to motor vehicle deaths - on average, over 90 each day in America. What are these behaviors?

Speeding 
Stop Sign & Red Light Running
Tailgating
All manner of Distracted Driving, including cell phone use (hands-free included), personal grooming, eating, animals on laps (would you put an unrestrained child on your lap? - Yes, some do!)
Not Buckling Up
Driving Under the Influence of Alcohol and other Drugs
Riding motorcycles without a helmet 

Considering the rampant  expressions of these behaviors, and more, is it any wonder that over 30,000 loved ones die on our nations roadways each year? Do we give the appearance that we are committed to carrying out warfare behind the wheel from our neighborhoods to the highways?

How do we return peace to our streets? Turning street warfare into "care-fare" involves commitment, at the very least, to practicing the following behaviors:

Before starting a motor vehicle...



...walk around your vehicle to make sure there are no kids playing behind or around it.


...hide your cell phone - where you can't reach it - so that it does not serve as a distraction as you drive (remember when no one had to worry about doing this? Cell phone use while driving is becoming the new "Drunk Driving")





…never drink and drive




...buckle up every trip, and expect all passengers to do so as well, no matter the distance of the trip. Remember, unbuckled passengers can serve as "backseat bullets" careening all over your vehicle in the event of a crash.


...stop at stop signs and taking 3 seconds to look left, look right, look left again - work hard to make sure the street really is clear of other moving vehicles, pedestrians trying to cross, and cyclists making their way along roadways.


stop to make sure intersections and crosswalks are clear before making lefthand or righthand turns at traffic signals


observe the speed limit, and drive slower when weather conditions or the presence of children at play, pedestrians, and cyclists dictate doing so.


...be a thinker and use your blinker to signal all turns and lane changes.


create 3-4 seconds of following distance between your vehicle and the one in front of you so you have time to react to the driving actions of others.



Repetitive practice of all these behaviors - "the better", and more, is what helps us improve our driving skills each day. None of us will ever be the perfect driver. Yet, if we are driven to care each time we get behind the wheel, we can make the life-giving difference each and every trip. 





It's About Kids! It's About Safety! 
It's About Caring! It's About Time!®

Safe travels,
Tom Everson
Keep Kids Alive Drive 25®
A Non-Profit "For Action" Organization 501(c)(3)

402-334-1391

12418 C Street

Omaha, NE 68144


Make your donation to support the KKAD25 mission today @ KKAD25 Donate. A personal thank you note will arrive in your mailbox (not your e-mail box).

Sunday, August 31, 2014

World Headquarters


The mission of KEEP KIDS ALIVE DRIVE 25® is to make
streets safer for all who walk, ride, play, and drive.

In August of 1998 Wendy and I (Tom) set up KEEP KIDS ALIVE DRIVE 25® as a non-profit in a 12' X 6' office space in the basement of our home. 16 years later this same space is home to our "World Headquarters!" We have worked with over 1,500 communities representing 49 U.S. States (waiting to add Mississippi), 3 Canadian Provinces, the Bahamas, and Queensland State, Australia - connecting with traffic safety educators in Africa, Asia, and Europe along the way.

In keeping with our modest budget, $65,000 in our most recent fiscal year, we keep our overhead low (7' 3" in our office :-)). We make the most, and then some, of every dollar given to support our mission. We often wonder what we could accomplish with a more substantial budget in building upon the the work accomplished thus far.


So, of course we are always seeking donors, sponsors, and partners to help us extend the reach of our educational efforts as well as Live Forward!® in support of families whose loved ones have died in traffic incidents. Become a donor today @ KKAD25 Donate


Your business or foundation is invited to partner in our life-preserving mission -  Call 402-334-1391 or e-mail Tom@kkad25.org.


The original KEEP KIDS ALIVE DRIVE 25® graphic, 
designed by Mike Cottrell, 
adorns a wall in our "World Headquarters."


It's About Kids! It's About Safety! 
It's About Caring! It's About Time!®


Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Practice "The Better!"


"The best criticism of the bad is the practice of the better." Richard Rohr

When is comes to practicing safe driving behaviors, we all could use more practice in order to become better. Choose one or two of the following behaviors in order to "practice the better" each time you get behind the wheel.  

Before starting a motor vehicle...


...walk around your vehicle to make sure there are no kids playing behind or around it.


...hide your cell phone - where you can't reach it - so that it does not serve as a distraction as you drive (remember when no one had to worry about doing this? Cell phone use while driving is becoming the new "Drunk Driving")



…never drink and drive



...buckle up every trip, and expect all passengers to do so as well, no matter the distance of the trip. Remember, unbuckled passengers can serve as "backseat bullets" careening all over your vehicle in the event of a crash.


...stop at stop signs and taking 3 seconds to look left, look right, look left again - work hard to make sure the street really is clear of other moving vehicles, pedestrians trying to cross, and cyclists making their way along roadways.


stop to make sure intersections and crosswalks are clear before making lefthand or righthand turns at traffic signals


observe the speed limit, and drive slower when weather conditions or the presence of children at play, pedestrians, and cyclists dictate doing so.


...be a thinker and use your blinker to signal all turns and lane changes.


create 3-4 seconds of following distance between your vehicle and the one in front of you so you have time to react to the driving actions of others.



Repetitive practice of all these behaviors - "the better", and more, is what helps us improve our driving skills each day. None of us will ever be the perfect driver. Yet, if we are driven to care each time we get behind the wheel, we can make the life-giving difference each and every trip. 



It's About Kids! It's About Safety! 
It's About Caring! It's About Time!®

Safe travels,
Tom Everson
Keep Kids Alive Drive 25®
A Non-Profit "For Action" Organization 501(c)(3)

402-334-1391

12418 C Street

Omaha, NE 68144


Make your donation to support the KKAD25 mission today @ KKAD25 Donate. A personal thank you note will arrive in your mailbox (not your e-mail box).

Monday, August 25, 2014

Smile & Walk a Mile!



Smile & Walk a Mile - The Neighborhood Mile Campaign 

No, it's not the Ice Bucket Challenge! It's the invitation to walk a mile in your own neighborhood. While walking, be sure to greet neighbors along the way.  Note stop signs and speed limit signs along the way. Make a pledge to yourself to practice Stop! Take 3 To See and to Keep Kids Alive Drive 25®, or slower in the presence of pedestrians, cyclists, and children at play. Then, get out again and walk a mile (or more) each day. Feel better, get to know your neighbors, and pay attention to ways you can be a safer, friendlier driver to keep yourself and all your neighbors safer on and along roadways.



And while you are walking, please consider a pledge to support the mission of Keep Kids Alive Drive 25® to make streets safer for all who walk (run), ride (cycle), play, and drive. $5, $10, $25, or more goes a long way in driving our mission into communities across the U.S. as well as with families whose loved ones have died in traffic incidents - Live Forward!™  Make your life-preserving contribution @ KKAD25 Donate. Checks can be sent to:

KKAD25
12418 C Street
Omaha, NE 68144

Your generous giving keeps kids living! Thank you!

Safe travels,
Tom Everson
Executive Director
Keep Kids Alive Drive 25®A Non-Profit "For Action" Organization 501(c)(3)
402-334-1391
12418 C Street
Omaha, NE 68144
www.KeepKidsAliveDrive25.org  

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

A Rocky Mountain Range of Emotions!


Pikes Peak rises 14,115 feet high - 7,815 feet above the start-line for our Run to Remember teams' 8th annual trek to the summit in honor of loved-ones who have died in traffic incidents. We carried the names of 87 loved-ones on our shirts to the top. The weekend provided a literal "Rocky Mountain Range of Emotions" - from tears to laughter and just about every emotion in between. 




90+ represents the number of loved ones who die on American roadways each day. Our team runs to honor all these loved ones. Click to meet the Faces of Love-Ones Our shirts were designed by Denise McPherson, Brandon's mom



Brandon



Six LIVE FORWARD! families joined us for the weekend. Families from throughout the U.S. wore their Live Forward! & Run to Remember Shirts in solidarity with all who gathered on Pikes Peak August 16th


 
Russ Lloyd, Shannon's dad, with his brother Errol, joined us for the 
3rd year to run in her honor and memory. 

Shannon

The LIVE FORWARD!Run to Remember Team posing before the Start (yes, Michael ran all the way to the top in that straw hat) From L to R - Patrick McCusker, Michael Everson, Russ Lloyd, Matthew Everson, Tom Everson, Mike Everson, Shawn Everson, and Sean Everson (Uncle and Nephew)
 
Bryn's family helping to direct those erecting the Start-Line banner
Bryn

  
Kenny's family honoring his love and memory


Kenny


Maria and Sierra came to honor Elijah (with yours truly and Wendy, my wife)


Elijah


Sky- running always starts with a rendition of America the Beautiful, written by Katharine Lee Bates while on the summit of Pikes Peak in the summer of 1893

Patrick begins with a smile. He would later succumb to oxygen deprivation and not reach the summit - yes, this race is really that tough! Believing in redemption, Patrick took this all in stride and plans to return next year to run to remember. Will you be there as well? 



Tad, and Isaac with Alexa Bear in honor of Alexa, and Jona at the Memorial to Katharine Lee Bates with the poem that became "America the Beautiful"



Alexa



Maria and Sierra enjoying a light moment at the summit


Mike, our fastest finisher - and past medal winner - crosses the finish line


Matthew, 8 time team member, crosses the line with a personal best - by 26+ minutes - he gave all he had!


Michael finishes with a personal best by 20 minutes - It's the hat!


Shawn, in the white hat, realizes a personal best as well - by 10 minutes


Sean follows his brothers to the finish - yes, the expression is appropriate to the effort needed to reach the summit.


Russ brings it home for Shannon for the 3rd time


Yours truly, Tom, closes out the finish for our team - 36 minutes faster than last year!


Matthew and Mom embrace


Posing with Pat, Addi, and Lyssi at the summit


Tad, Jona, and Isaac, honoring Alexa, celebrating with families at our closing dinner


Maria and Sierra honoring Elijah


The Dirkschneiders honoring Bryn and Ken - nephew and cousin


Stewart, Ken's Dad and Bryn's Uncle


Our closing meal Saturday evening drew families and runners together for a truly grace-filled meal. Stories were shared, memories were made. 

These photos tell just a small part of the story. Being there tells it's own story. The mountain holds a magic that draws people together. We are all better for the experience. Thanks to all who made it happen - every family connected with the Keep Kids Alive Drive 25 mission, our runners, and all who donated to make a magical weekend possible for all those who Live Forward and Run to Remember.




Simply put, the weekend was a medal-winner all the way around.


We look forward to making more memories when families and our team gather again next year the weekend of August 15th for the 60th running of the Pikes Peak Ascent and Marathon. We welcome your presence, as everyone who gathers adds to the gift that is Live Forward! & Run to Remember.


LIVE FORWARD!


Photos for this essay were taken by family members who served as our cheering and support crew throughout the weekend. They also provided love and support for each other - an amazing bunch of human beings who truly define what it means to be family. Thank you!