For every mile driven, drivers ages 16 to 19 are nearly three times more likely than drivers 20 and older to be in a fatal crash, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. They also are more likely to underestimate dangerous situations, such as cell phone calling and texting while driving.
Via Christi Health, with the support of a two-year grant totaling $200,000 from Kohl’s, is hoping to help turn this sad statistic around through a new teen driver program that launches this week.
Kohl’s Safe Teen will provide free hands-on education to teens and pre-teens about the dangers posed by distracted or impaired driving through year-round school presentations and community events.
“Our goal is to reduce the number of injuries and deaths from motor vehicle crashes we see in our hospital ERs involving teens either behind the wheel or in the passenger seat,” said Ronda Lusk, the registered nurse who leads Trauma outreach and education for Via Christi’s Wichita hospitals.
The program will kick off on Saturday, Oct. 21, at the South YMCA’s weekly Late Night event for teens, where Lusk and other Kohl’s Safe Teen volunteers will be on hand to allow teens to use driving simulators to virtually experience the risks of distracted and impaired driving.
“Our Late Night mission is to keep kids safe, off the streets, and connect them to caring adults, so we’re super excited to add activities that will help keep our teens safer behind the wheel when they leave our facilities,” said Hillary Alexander, branch director for the South YMCA.
For nearly a year, the South YMCA has opened its doors after hours, 8:30-11:30 p.m., to ensure that every high school student has a positive place to go on Saturday night. The free Late Night program serves hundreds of kids each week and offers everything from basketball and swimming to Zumba and board games.
Since 2005, Kohl’s has donated more than $920,000 to Via Christi Health programs designed to keep children healthy and safe. For example, in 2013 Via Christi launched Kohl’s Safety Town, a community-based interactive pedestrian and bicycle safety education program.
“That’s now a well-established, sustainable program that our Level 1 Trauma program will continue to use in giving children ages 5 through 11 information designed to get where they’re going safely,” said Lusk. “Our Safe Teen program is a natural extension of the effort to help ensure that youth of all ages have the education and resources they need to make good choices and eliminate avoidable risks.”
Kohl’s commitment to Via Christi is made possible through the Kohl’s Cares cause merchandise program. Through this initiative, Kohl’s sells $5 books and soft toys, where 100 percent of net profit benefits children’s health initiatives nationwide, including hospital partnerships like this one. Kohl’s has raised more than $317 million through this merchandise program. For more information, visit www.Kohls.com/Cares.
About Via Christi Health
In Kansas, Ascension’s Via Christi Health operates nine hospitals and 75 other sites of care and employs more than 6,000 associates. Across the state, Via Christi provided more than $77.8 million in community benefit and care of persons living in poverty in fiscal year 2016. Serving Kansas for more than 135 years, Ascension is a faith-based healthcare organization committed to delivering compassionate, personalized care to all, with special attention to persons living in poverty and those most vulnerable. Ascension is the largest non-profit health system in the U.S. and the world’s largest Catholic health system, operating 2,500 sites of care – including 141 hospitals and more than 30 senior living facilities – in 22 states and the District of Columbia. Visit www.viachristi.org
Kohl’s (NYSE: KSS) is a leading omnichannel retailer with more than 1,100 stores in 49 states. With a commitment to inspiring and empowering families to lead fulfilled lives, Kohl’s offers amazing national and exclusive brands, incredible savings and an easy shopping experience in our stores, online at Kohls.com and on Kohl’s mobile app. Throughout its history, Kohl’s has given nearly $600 million to support communities nationwide. For a list of store locations or to shop online, visit Kohls.com. For more information about Kohl’s impact in the community and how to join our winning team, visit Corporate.Kohls.com.