BURRILLVILLE – State officials this week recognized the six students from Burrillville who attended the Rhode Island State Police Chief’s Association Youth Force Summit over the summer, presenting the youth leaders with citations congratulating them for their participation.
Youth Force is a year-round leadership program for Rhode Island high school students with a mission of providing them and their adult advisors with the motivation, information, skills and support necessary to organize events and activities that support traffic safety efforts within their communities.
“I’m really honored to be here to recognize the young ladies,” said Sen. Jessica de le Cruz during a presentation of citations from both the Rhode Island State Senate and the House at the Burrillville Town Council meeting last week.
The summit, a three day retreat that kicks off the students’ year long traffic safety plan, is co-sponsored by the Rhode Island Police Chiefs Association and the Rhode Island Department of Transportation, and took place at Roger Williams University in Bristol in August. Students from across Rhode Island attended the event, devising action plans on how to improve traffic safety in their communities.
Eighth graders from the middle school’s SADD program who attended were accompanied by Monica Blanchette, head of the Burrillville Prevention Action Coalition, and Mackenzie Raimond, who led the high school’s program before graduating last year.
Town Council President John Pacheco recognized the future leaders.
“Mackenzie’s a rock star, so I’m glad to see there’s someone else coming up behind her,” said Pacheco.
“You’re going to pass on the knowledge,” Rep. David Place told the students.
Citations were issued to Raymond, along with 11th grader Samantha Mansolf, and 8th graders Mary Chenot, Kaitlyn Fleming, Aundrea Leary and Hannah Silvia.
The group has devised a three-point plan to address traffic safety, which starts by working with the “text less, live more,” campaign. The students also hope to put on an event at high school with a mock car crash to address the topic of impaired driving, and to get signs put up on local roadways educating residents about fatalities.