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Rainbow Babies & Children's Hospital's Use It or Lose It High School Seat Belt Challenge Brings Out the Creativity in Cuyahoga County Teens

Area high schoolers take to the stage at the House of Blues to compete for

highest seat belt use and most creative seat belt messages

CLEVELAND, May 20 /PRNewswire/ -- Local teens had a chance to showcase their creativity -- and their community spirit -- at the House of Blues at noon on Tuesday, May 19, as Rainbow Babies & Children's Hospital's Use It or Lose It High School Seat Belt Challenge, sponsored by Kohl's, wrapped up with an announcement of the winning schools and performance and screening of entries in a creative messaging contest. In the Use It or Lose It challenge, schools competed to have the highest student seat belt use rates and the biggest change in student seat belt use over the three-week effort for a chance to win cash and prizes. Individual students or groups of students could also compete in three mini-challenges by developing videos, artwork, or songs that spread the buckle up message to other teens. The high-energy event at the House of Blues gave schools the opportunity to show off their hard work and creative thinking in building school spirit around the call to buckle up and drive safe.

Teens have higher crash rates than any other age group, especially in the first year they're licensed. Last year, nearly 17,000 Ohioans aged 14 to 18 were involved in motor vehicle crashes involving teen drivers--more than 1,800 of them were injured or killed. Fortunately, there's a quick and easy way to drastically reduce your chances of being hurt or injured in a crash: wear a seat belt. Unfortunately, teens are less likely to buckle up than older drivers. Use It or Lose It is meant to help change that by harnessing the power of teens to influence their peers.

And influence they did! Competition was fierce among the 11 high schools during the three week program, which ran from April 20 through May 8: Bay High School in Bay Village, Bedford High School, Berea High School, Brecksville Broadview Heights High School, Euclid High School, Garfield Heights High School, Mayfield High School, Midpark High School in Middleburg Heights, Normandy High School in Parma, Orange High School, and Shaw High School in East Cleveland. Student groups at each school took ownership of the program and found wonderfully creative and persuasive ways to convince their fellow students to buckle up. All the schools worked hard, but Brecksville Broadview Heights High School and Bedford High School came out on top: Brecksville Broadview Heights won the award for highest overall seat belt use, with 80% of students buckling up. Bedford took top honors for most improved seat belt use, with a 29 percentage point increase from 49% before the Challenge began to 78% at its completion. Both winning schools earned $500, courtesy of Kohl's!

The event was part of Cuyahoga County's Click It or Ticket seat belt mobilization campaign kickoff, and the 125 law enforcement officers, community members, and school representatives in attendance at the House of Blues watched the creative messaging contest finalists perform their songs, screen their videos, and display their art before voting for the winners.

A student group from Bedford High School took first place in the video contest with an entry that displayed the consequences of distracted driving and failing to wear a seat belt, while Steve Molnar of Mayfield High School took first place in the poster contest with his creative and visually arresting message. The song contest was especially close, with only 4 votes separating second place winner Maya Rosenblum of Orange High School and her entry "Escaping Fate" from first place winner Theo Locke of Bedford High School, with "Die'n in the Ride." Although they had starkly different musical styles, both young artists demonstrated outstanding stage presence and captivated the audience with their compelling entries.

The winning entrants in each category won $500 for themselves and $250 for their schools. The winning video will appear locally this summer on cable network channels, including MTV, ABC Family, BET, and VH1; the winning poster will makes it debut on billboards throughout Cuyahoga County; and the winning song will air locally on KISS FM.

The Rainbow Babies & Children's Hospital Injury Prevention Center, lead agency for the Greater Cleveland Safe Kids/Safe Communities Coalition, works with communities, children, and families through education and outreach to decrease injury risk and improve wellbeing. The Kohl's Safe Rides for All Kids program at Rainbow Babies & Children's Hospital is a multifaceted effort to increase restraint use for children of every age by reaching kids and parents where they live, work, and play.

Kohl's, based in Menomenee Falls, Wisconsin, supports the Safe Rides for All Kids through the Kohl's Cares for Kids program, which raises funds for children's health and educational opportunities through the sale of special gift items. Kohl's community outreach also includes Kohl's Kids Who Care, an annual youth volunteer recognition program, as well as an associate program to encourage volunteerism.

SOURCE University Hospitals Rainbow Babies & Children's Hospital
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