Grant Program Honors Miss South Dakota by Supporting Safe Driving
Brookings, SD, Jan. 20, 2011 - To celebrate Loren Vaillancourt's courageous and personal platform, the dangers of distracted driving, State Farm announced today it will donate $10,000 to the “Drive the Dollars” grant program now under way in South Dakota.
State Farm and Vaillancourt are partners in the fight to end distracted driving. In May 2009, Vaillancourt lost her only sibling because of the consequences of distracted driving. As Miss South Dakota, Vaillancourt is in a unique position to share her family’s emotional story about what happened to her 21-year-old brother Kelson and draw attention to the terrible risks associated with distracted driving.
“Sharing my story is unfortunately the only way to effectively communicate to others how truly real and dangerous it is,” Vaillancourt said. “It will never get easier to tell my brother’s story, but I know that it prompts others to make better decisions on the road. My hope is that my message will resonate with thousands and save lives.”
In the days before the pageant, Vaillancourt blogged about her experiences and her anti-distracted driving platform on Teen Driver Safety Facebook. Loren's important safety message drew attention across the country and won praise from U.S. Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood. The cabinet member blogged about Loren and the “Drive the Dollars” program twice, on Jan. 5 and Jan.10.
On Monday, State Farm began accepting grant applications from South Dakota schools. To submit an application please visit this website. Applications close March 31 and grant winners will be announced in May. Two South Dakota schools will receive grants to implement anti-distracted driving programs.
Vaillancourt’s video diary was posted on the State Farm Teen Driver Safety Facebook page from Jan. 4 until the Miss America pageant on Jan. 15. State Farm urged people to watch Vaillancourt’s video diaries and saying that her fans had the power to “drive dollars” to South Dakota schools by “liking” her posts. Every “like” would result in one dollar to the grant.
Ultimately, Loren’s videos and Facebook posts earned $1,517 in donations and added more than 700 new fans of the page. Today, State Farm announced it will support South Dakota’s efforts to curb distracted driving by increasing its donation amount to $10,000.
“State Farm is proud to support Loren’s platform and to offer these grants to South Dakota students,” said Terry Barton, Vice President for South Dakota. “We share Loren’s commitment to saving lives and encourage South Dakota schools to apply.”
Please visit this website to read the “Drive the Dollars” grant program rules and guidelines. To apply for the grant, visit: https://www.grantrequest.com/SID_1043?SA=SNA&FID=35148
Ann Avery, State Farm Insurance at (402) 327-4551.
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