County Seeks High School Students to Serve as Vision Zero Youth Ambassadors

The county’s Department of Transportation is seeking up to 45 high school students to serve as Vision Zero Youth Ambassadors, officials announced Tuesday.

Through the project-based learning program, teens gain leadership skills, outreach, and engagement techniques to address traffic safety concerns in their community, according to the announcement. Applications are now being accepted; the deadline to apply is Wednesday, Nov. 30.

The program supports the county’s Vision Zero Initiative, which aims to eliminate traffic-related severe injuries and fatalities.

“Students can help drive positive change and make a big impact by participating,” said County Executive Marc Elrich in a statement. “We want creative solutions from our youth to help achieve the goals of our Vision Zero plan, to save lives through traffic safety infrastructure and programming. Teens can play a powerful role in making Vision Zero a reality.”

Applicants will be notified by Dec. 14 if they have been accepted into the program. A virtual orientation will be conducted via Zoom from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 7.

Following the orientation session, ambassadors will participate in four sessions throughout May, both virtually via Zoom and in person. The sessions will be held from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturdays on the following dates:

  • Session 1 – Saturday, Feb. 11 (in person)

  • Session 2 – Saturday, March 4 (in person) 

  • Session 3 – Saturday, March 25 (virtual) 

  • Session 4 – Saturday, April 29 (virtual) 

In-person events will take place at the Montgomery County Public Safety Building, located at 100 Edison Park Dr. in Gaithersburg.

The Youth Ambassadors are tasked with completing a group project based on one of six categories that encompasses topics related to engineering or education. The county will provide resources and project guidance to execute projects that will ultimately improve the safety of residents.

The program offers students the opportunity to earn 40 hours of Student Service Learning (SSL). Throughout the course of the program, additional SSL hours may be earned by participating in scheduled county outreach activities promoting pedestrian and driver safety.

“This program offers real-world engineering and advocacy experience that has impactful, tangible outcomes,” said Montgomery County Department of Transportation Director Chris Conklin. “We are empowering teens to assess needed improvements to the built environment, inform their peers about safe behavior and develop programs that address specific safety needs in communities throughout the County. 

At a graduation ceremony held in late May 2023, the youth ambassadors will share their project plans, outcomes, and best practices with attendees and special guests.

Interested high school students from public, private, and home schools can learn more about the program and apply online. The program received 100 applications last year.

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