Meet Volunteers and Givers
Officer Brian Pennings, CHP
California Highway Patrol Officer Brian Pennings is a public information officer (PIO) and a leader within the Impact Teen Drivers and CHP partnership. “I was contacted by Dr. Kelly Browning to assist her in developing a distracted driver program. We worked together along with three other PIO's in other areas of the state. Impact today is a cooperation of all our experiences and input,” Officer Pennings shared.
Officer Pennings leads high school assemblies utilizing the Impact program. He selects students to drive an obstacle course before the assembly, which is filmed. Then, a video company produces a short film that is shown during the high school presentation. This video and discussion is in addition to the standard Impact assembly structure. “The video depicts the students’ over-confidence while driving distracted then their epic failure. It is typically meet with great acceptance by schools, students, and parents,” Officer Pennings said. The obstacle course and video personalizes the assembly to the school and the students and is a great addition. The Impact presentation is flexible and customizable to accommodate the addition of other resources, different time constraints, etc.
“Impact is very effective! Reason being is because, unlike DUI, distracted driving applies to 100% of the students,” Officer Pennings believes, “[Impact] makes the students think out-side the box.” Impact Teen Drivers relies on law enforcement officers to share the program and message with students, parents, and community members. Our partnership with the CHP has brought many committed and enthusiastic PIOs into the Impact family. We are so thankful for the service of CHP and other law enforcement officers dedicated to enforcing our traffic safety laws and educating the public about traffic safety.
Leslie Antonis, RN, is an emergency room nurse and trauma education specialist. “I was introduced to Kelly Browning and Impact Teen Driver’s by another healthcare professional. After listening to Kelly speak about Impact Teen Driver’s, her passion towards preventing reckless and distracted driving is evident AND contagious,” Leslie said. Leslie is the injury prevention coordinator at a hospital and she spends a lot of time interacting with teens in the classroom. “I use the personal story videos in the classroom. It makes the educational material “real” when they can put a face/family to the material being provided. It also helps the teens to realize that bad outcomes do occur when bad choices are made,” Leslie said. The interactive probability wheel is also a key resource Leslie uses during interactions with young drivers. “It helps teens to realize the everyday things they do when behind the wheel, such as putting on lip gloss, can be deadly!” Leslie said.
Reckless and distracted driving is one the biggest public health threats to people of all ages today. Teens are particularly at risk from this epidemic! “I think Impact Teen Driver’s is a great program to educate our teens on reckless and distracted driving,” Leslie believes. Dedicated health professionals, such as Leslie, are a strong line of defense against these preventable deaths.
Richard Birt, Director of Ohio SADD, first got involved in SADD during high school. He served as SADD National Student of the Year during 2009-2010 and is now working as the Director of Ohio SADD. “I reach out across the SADD network to find new programs to engage young people. It was through this network and the work of the National Safety Council that I found the Impact teen program,” Ricky said, “The Impact program is one of the best resources I have found… It's not the old, boring brochure or handout. It's an engaging resource that grabs your attention and makes you think about the ‘impact’ that we each have on ourselves and the world around us. It's fun, motivating, evidence based, and totally successful.”
We here at Impact Teen Drivers believe that teens are moving targets so we continually evaluate and update our program. “Impact Teen Drivers stays current with them, always adjusting to grab the attention of this generation… The posters, t-shirts, and images not only grab their eyes but also engage their minds into reconsidering the decisions they and their friends make,” Ricky said. The SADD students are creatively using Impact curriculum and materials. Ricky believes that the adaptability and the holistic approach is “the beauty of this program”- “there a million ways to use it, based on what is best for students and the school and community.”
“I truly believe that the answer to teen crashes will come from the teens themselves. They hold such power in directing the decisions their friends make,” Ricky emphasized, “Impact challenges students to reach out and make that difference- to speak up, to get out of the car, to think! One decision, one moment, one choice can lead to a lifetime of regret.” Ricky is excited to continue to use Impact, putting the program in force across Ohio, and we are excited to see the great results SADD members will see in their communities!
Kassandra Corrigan started working with Impact Teen Drivers as a high school volunteer. Kacey heard about Impact from a soccer friend. “Her dad is involved with CHP and told me to call Kelly Browning about doing a senior project with Impact,” Kacey said. Kacey lead tabling events in her community, including representing Impact at a Safetyville event. Safetyville was founded in 1934 to reduce injuries and save lives by providing safety education and training. Kacey’s participation at the Safetyville event helped bring the safe driver and safe passenger message to people of all ages and strengthened the partnership between Safetyville and Impact Teen Drivers. “I also posted Create Real Impact posters in my school,” Kacey said, “Create Real Impact is a great way that any high school or college student can get involved in ending distracted and reckless driving.”
As a teen herself, Kacey provides a real, honest voice of what teens find interesting and engaging. She has a favorite aspect of the Impact program and philosophy. “The fact that the program has an emotional impact rather than a graphic one is my favorite. Teens pay attention and are greatly impacted by the program because of this,” Kacey said. “I have saved a lot of my friends from texting and driving by speaking up,” she believes. Kacey is now a college student and is still involved with Impact Teen Drivers. We are glad she is still working with us and we are sure she will be successful in her college career!