Project promotes driver safety

Students from Live Oak Elementary in Brownie Troop 10384 say they want to make a difference.

Members of the troop from Watson will set out April 13 for Watson Safe Driving Awareness Day.

They will be joined by members of Junior and Cadet Troop 10376, members of the Livingston Parish Sheriff’s Office and more than 16 different agencies and groups who plan to talk with the community from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Watson Wal-mart, 34025 La. 16, about the importance of driving safely.

The event is the culmination of a yearlong journey to answer the question: “What can a girl do?” Troop Leader Trina Delanoix said.

It is an opportunity to learn how one girl can start with an idea, share that idea with other girls, get assistance and guidance from adults and provide a positive change on a community level, she said.

“Our small town of Watson suffered the tragic loss of a child as a result of a traffic accident in one of our neighborhoods last year,” Delanoix said.

“When our girls were asked what they could do to be of service to our community, one little Brownie was brave enough to admit that she was now frightened to ride her bike down her street. She wanted to learn how to make everyone drive safely.”

The student’s concerns led to a visit from State Police Trooper Tim Theriot, who talked to the girls about seatbelt safety, rider etiquette and other safety issues, Delanoix said.

He then put them in touch with the Livingston Parish Sheriff’s Department, and the idea to raise awareness grew into a day-long event, she said.

“This journey has now led the girls to see our community respond to their request,” Delanoix said.

On Saturday, representatives from the Sheriff’s Office will man information booths, and car seat installation technicians will help area residents safely install child car seats.

DARE officers and state troopers will provide a roll-over simulator and their fatal goggles obstacle course.

Delanoix said she expects more than 50 members of area Brownie, Girl Scout, Junior and Cadet troops from Denham Springs, Walker and Watson to attend the event and help hand out fliers with a clear message: drive safely.

Delaney Ferris, 8, of Live Oak Elementary School, said she hopes everyone “has a good time and that everybody learns how to drive safely.”

“I don’t want people to be scared to ride their bikes,” said Abbigail Delanoix, 8, a second-grader at Live Oak Elementary School who explained her reasons for helping with Saturday’s event. “I want them to feel safe.”

For the 11 girls in Brownie Troop 10384 who kicked off Saturday’s event, this will be the first time they have staged an event of this magnitude. Delaney said all of the hard work was worth it.

“We made posters, fliers to hand out and gift bags,” Delaney said.

In addition to the Scouts, many student organizations such as the Southeastern Louisiana University chapter of the Alpha Sigma Tau sorority and the Key Club of Live Oak High School will provide activities and information focused on keeping residents safe.

“I think it’s going to be really cool and fun,” Abbigail said.

Live Oak area students will also have a chance to win prizes for artwork they submitted to the Watson Safe Driving Awareness Day.

Livingston Parish Sheriff Jason Ard will pick poster winners based on the provided themes: bicycle safety, seatbelt safety, driving safety laws, texting and driving, sober driving and speeding.

“We hope that by researching these themes the students will learn more about what they can do to make our wonderful town an even safer place,” Delanoix said.

“We would now like to invite the rest of our community to join with us in this effort to educate and remind ourselves of the rules of the road,” Delanoix said.

She urges businesses or organizations that would like to participate to contact her at (225) 667-2049 or Bianca Ferris at (225) 665-2717.

“Together we can make the world a better place and show everyone just what a girl can do,” Delanoix said.