End Distracted Driving (EndDD.org) is delighted to announce a new book as part of Kids Speaking Up for Road Safety, a free program that teaches elementary school children to advocate for safety and distraction-free driving. Sam’s Distracted Day follows a day in the life of Sam the Meerkat, who learns that focusing on two things at once leads to mistakes. The story reinforces the program’s message that being safe means taking on one task at a time.
Kids Speaking Up for Road Safety: About the Program
Kids Speaking Up for Road Safety is a free program with ready-to-use, 45- to 60-minute lessons for grades two to three, four to five, and six. Through Sam, the lessons help children become part of the solution to end distracted driving – long before they are drivers themselves.
Sam is an acronym for the three-part “bystander intervention” strategy to empower children to speak up respectfully and effectively against distractions:
- See something,
- Address the problem using an “I” statement, and
- Make an action plan together.
When developing the program, EndDD.org and Safe Roads Alliance collaborated with psychologists, SEL experts, content developers, videographers, and animators experienced in creating educational programs. Lesson content and activities draw on the core SEL competencies framework developed by the Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning.
Through guided discussion and activities, students explore different types of distractions that occur outside and inside the car. Children learn about distraction and non-confrontational communication skills. Ancillary resources include a facilitator’s guide with an advisory letter home to parents, student worksheets, cross-curricular activities appropriate for grade level, safe driving pledges, and a printable reference guide for students. These tools aim to help children positively influence their parents’ and caregivers’ driving behaviors and increase the likelihood that they will choose to drive distraction-free when they get behind the wheel.
Sam’s Distracted Day Book Credits
Author Danielle Gibson Potere has been teaching within the school district of Philadelphia for the last 10 years. She is a program coordinator for a non-profit organization called Philly Girls in Motion that aims to bring sports and fitness opportunities to inner-city youth. In her spare time, she is involved with Girls on the Run and Philadelphia Futures. She also works closely with Joel Feldman and EndDD to help with distracted driving education at the elementary level.
Matt Thornton (Narrator) is a board member of The Casey Feldman Foundation and a finance professional living in Pennsylvania. He was the recipient of the first Greater Philadelphia Cappie for Best Lead Actor in a Play in 2006 and credits his acting and VO work to his many directors and teachers. He is grateful to be able to help spread the positive message that driving is a serious responsibility that deserves undistracted focus.
Erin Fox, Voice Actor (Sam) is 13 years old and an 8th Grader at Bala Cynwyd Middle School. She loves playing soccer, acting, and working with Best Buddies of Philadelphia. Erin lives in Wynnewood, Pennsylvania with her parents and her older brother Sean. She was honored to be able to participate in this project as she is very familiar with the Casey Feldman Memorial Foundation/EndDD.org through her involvement with Upper Darby Summer Stage.