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After-School All-Stars and Mazda Foundation Celebrate South Florida Students for “Don’t Text and Drive” Initiatives

Local Nonprofit Organization Partners With Mazda Foundation in Support of Educational Student Programs and Raise Awareness Against Distracted Driving

Empowering students to stay in school and succeed in life, After-School All-Stars, the leading national provider of year-round, school-based, comprehensive after school programs, in conjunction with Mazda Foundation, hosted a “Family Engagement Night” event at West Miami Middle School from 3:30 p.m. to 6 p.m. on May 20th, in support of raising awareness against texting and driving.

At the event, Victoria Torres, a 14-year-old West Miami student, unveiled the “iHold,” a prototype of a new product that will help to stop distracted driving, in front of a panel of students, teachers and parents. Torres was selected in 2014 to serve as the Youth Advisory Board Member representative for the South Florida chapter of After-School All-Stars.

A future mathematician, Victoria worked closely with her peers to lead a service learning project based on the topic of texting and driving and created “iHold” to combat texting and driving.

Sponsored by Mazda Foundation, Torres was joined by Tristan Nunez, a 19-year-old professional race car driver for Mazda who is the youngest driver to ever win a professional-level sports car race and became the youngest-ever champion to win the IMSA Prototypes Lites championship in 2012. Chris Garcia, a pit manager/engineer for Mazda, was also present and held a demonstration in front of the student body on how race car drivers stay safe on the road.

Nunez and Garcia shared personal experiences on the importance of driving without distractions and tips on how drivers can avoid them. They also highlighted the importance of supporting programs that raise awareness on the issue like Project Yellow Light, a safe driving organization founded by the mother a young man named Hunter who was killed in a car accident at 16 that resulted from texting and driving. Nunez and Garcia closed their presentation by challenging the students to spread the word to not text and drive.

The presentations were followed by the After-School All-Stars Rising Star Tour, a tour of the school’s life-changing after-school programs.

About After-School All-Stars
After-School All-Stars serves more than 2,000 students and families every day. All-Stars’ comprehensive after-school programming was developed to help kids succeed both in school and in life. Through All-Stars’ programs, schools give students a safe place to be with caring adults after the bell rings at 3 pm instead of having to pour out into the streets. These programs for low-income, at-risk students enhance student achievement, overall fitness and nutrition, helps them to develop as leaders, and inspires participants to engage in their communities, including student-led, curriculum-driven service learning projects.

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