Winnetka Police Chief Patrick Kreis was visiting the Hubbard Woods School Mayfest recently when he stumbled upon the "JUST DRIVE" campaign, hosted by Girl Scouts Troup 41059.
"I was immediately impressed with what the girls had put together," he told Patch. "Their program sends a simple message of JUST DRIVE, No Cell Phones. No Distractions. They not only distribute bumper magnets and stickers but they also back-up their message with an easy-to-read pamphlet containing research-supported facts about distracted driving."
The fifth-grade girls at Skokie School in Winnetka created a campaign called JUST DRIVE to raise awareness about the problems associated with distracted driving. Using the funding from their cookie sales, the Girl Scouts are offering free car magnets to people who sign their pledge.
So impressed by their efforts, Kreis told them that every Winnetka Police squad car would carry their JUST DRIVE bumper sticker.
"Their traffic safety campaign is exactly the type of partnership our department seeks to embrace," he said.
The idea for the campaign originated with the fifth-graders themselves, according to Girl Scout Annabel Nied, 10, who hopes to drive an orange Volkswagen Beetle — sans cell phone — when she grows up.
"What we did was, first, we came up with a bunch of ideas generated by our group," said Annabel. "We then got it down to the last two ideas, which were PAWS [the animal support service] and distracted driving. ... We convinced our troop that we should do distracted driving."
Another Girl Scout, Nina Monnig, 11, emphasized the significance of the issue.
"This is important to me because many people can get get hurt from distracted driving," said Nina. "I’ve been doing Girl Scouts since first grade. I think this campaign is special because it helps people to stop doing [destructive] things."
On Memorial Day the troop will march in the Winnetka parade and will host a booth at the corner of Elm and Lincoln. On June 2, they plan to give free car washes to anyone who signs their pledge at Winnetka Presbyterian Church from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
"We believe that everyone can play an important role, regardless of age," said Troup Leader Heather Pigott. "Adults, teens and kids are all encouraged to take the JUST DRIVE pledge."
Check out the troup's pledge form and brochure, which are attached the Patch Media Uploader.