Please help us in welcoming Laura Rizo to the Center for Transportation Safety and the Teens in the Driver Seat program. Laura will be concentrating on enhancing the Junior High program and developing focused leadership training for TDS team members. Here, in her own words, is why she decided to come aboard.
“It’s not always easy leaving a profession behind where you feel you made a difference in young people’s lives, but I did such in hope that my students would grow up to be successful when they graduated. Here I am as a new member of the Teens in the Driver Seat program in San Antonio and enjoying every minute of it. I sponsored Teens in the Driver Seat Jr High for almost 6 years and was very successful with the program. People asked, ‘Why does it make sense to reach out to these teens when they’re not even driving yet?’ Our response to them as a group was that teens need to understand the dangers of driving as young adults and understand the risks related to the dangers of driving before they become drivers. Teens listen to teens and for that reason, our message as a group at Desert View Middle in El Paso came from the kids themselves. As a teacher for 8 years, I learned the importance of growing bonding relationships with teens and being a mentor to them. This Teens in the Driver Seat program focuses on the positive outcomes of being a good driver and, for that matter, passenger as well. Now I’m on the other side of the program, as a Regional Coordinator where I’ll now be the resource for many teachers out there who want to make a difference in kids’ lives.
“Does it take time away from your schedule and planning? Yes. But the reward that comes from this is the most gratifying feeling ever. For kids to love you and want to come to you about anything and everything and discuss how they saved a life because they prevented their parents from texting and driving or other dangers is an awesome and unforgettable feeling. Whereas I used to motivate and mentor students through the process of the ups and downs of life and this program’s benefits, I will now be taking the leadership role in working with adults. I challenge any teacher out there who REALLY became an educator to make a difference, to become part of this program and the journey toward saving lives.”