Drawing kids into Safety

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One of the biggest challenges in raising awareness on safety issues is how do you approach young people?  How do you show them the benefits of being safe on the road while keeping their attention and keeping them engaged.  The masterminds behind the Street Smarts Program seem to have locked in on a tried and true method:  Create a storybook about safety and have it illustrated by area student artists.

Each year the Street Smarts program holds their storybook poster contest, sponsored by the Sunset Development Company. The contest allows youngsters in the San Ramon Valley School District to showcase their talents by competing to draw the pages of the storybook.  The book, "The Great Zoo Escape", was written by area author Dana Mentink. The story revolved around an escape at the zoo and how the students could bring the animals back while walking and biking safely.

11 young artists were selected from the hundreds of entries Street Smarts received, and they provided art for the cover, as well as the ten page story.  An evening awards gala was held March 10, 2011 at the Performing Arts Center at Dougherty Valley High School.  It was an exciting and festive event, with not only all 550 seats filled in the arts center, but nearly 100 other people watched the awards ceremony on video in the nearby exhibit hall.

Mentink read from the storybook, and then several area dignitaries including Danville Mayor Karen Stepper, Vice-Mayor Candace Andersen, San Ramon Mayor H. Abram Wilson and SRVUSD School Board President Paul Gardner and board member Ken Mintz announced the winning entries. 

Winners of the storybook contest were:streetsmarts2011.3

              Cover:    AJ Morelan
            Page 1:    Saloni Dhaktode
            Page 2:    Kathy Sigamony
            Page 3:    Dooie Doh
            Page 4:    Jenny Lee
            Page 5:    Seohyun Jeon
            Page 6:    Peyton Delaney
            Page 7:    Madden Miller
            Page 8:    Emily Livitz
            Page 9:    Phedora Layanto
            Page 10:  Michelle Li

Copies of the storybook area available for free.  They can be found at the Danville Community Center, Danville Library and area schools. 

For more information on Street Smarts or the storybook poster contest, contact Street Smarts Coordinator Nat Rojanasathira at (925) 314-3382 or nrojanasathira@danville.ca.gov.