Updated March 26 at 7:54am

3 organizations awarded seat belt education grants


PROVIDENCE – The Providence Community Library, Woonsocket’s Connecting for Children and Families, and the Socio-Economic Development Center for Southeast Asians were awarded grants to promote seat belt safety in their communities.

The grants, announced Friday by Gov. Lincoln D. Chafee, R.I. Department of Transportation Director Michael P. Lewis and Judge Anastasia P. Williams, were given out as part of Rhode Island’s Seat Belt Education Campaign.

Organizations submitted grant applications, which were reviewed by the DOT, and the Black and Latino Caucus Community Partnership. Grants were administered from money received by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

“We all know that buckling up is one of the easiest ways to stay safe in a crash. Through these joint efforts we’re hoping to share this safety message with even more Rhode Islanders,” Chafee said in prepared remarks.

Over the next four years, RIDOT intends to award $1 million to community-based groups who help share the seat belt safety message.

“RIDOT is pleased to participate in this partnership to encourage the development of culturally and linguistically appropriate seat belt messaging. Increasing seat belt usage within those communities we may not have been able to reach before is critical to the success of our overall objective of saving lives,” Lewis said in a statement.

The Providence Community Library is receiving $32,160 as part of the program. The library, which serves the entire city of Providence, plans to use a multifaceted approach, including a bookmark design contest, a comic book writing class, hip hop and poetry classes, child passenger safety training, and storyteller events to help spread the seat belt safety message.

Woonsocket’s Connecting for Children and Families is receiving $38,000 to target residents of Woonsocket, North Smithfield, Lincoln, Cumberland, Gloucester and Foster. The organization plans to reach 2,400 Rhode Islanders with critical safety information through their 120 KEYS – Keeping Every Youth Safe – presentations.

The Socio-Economic Development Center for Southeast Asians will receive $40,000 from the program. The statewide organization dedicated to the promotion and integration of the Southeast Asian culture plans to create and disseminate culturally appropriate informational material in Cambodian, Laotian, Hmong and Vietnamese, the four main languages spoken in Southeast Asia.

According to the release, the DOT is assisting several other community organizations finalize grant applications for awards of less than $5,000.


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