Feet on the Crosswalk. Feet on the Brake

Feet on the Crosswalk. Feet on the Brake

C. E. Condessa do Rio Novo

Sixteen high school students decided to develop actions to build awareness in people of different ages about their safety on the streets in order to reduce the number of accidents in the town.

The ideas

The Condessa do Rio Novo Public School is located in the central area of Três Rios; it serves students from different neighborhoods of the town who have to face obstacles such as cars on the sidewalks, lack of lights at the crosswalks, etcetera, on their way to school.

Since several accidents have occurred in the town and some students have seen cars running through the crosswalks, the problem of drivers’ lack of respect for pedestrians, especially when they are crossing the crosswalk, have attracted the group's attention.

In order to minimize this problem, the students thought initially to ask the government for installing signs, especially near schools, but as this was an expensive action and it could be slow, the group decided to try another way to help the society.

The initiatives

To help the community, in 2015 a group of 16 high school students created the project "Foot on the Crosswalk, Foot on the Brake", in order to encourage drivers and pedestrians to observe traffic rules.

To accomplish this project, they divided their actions in two stages. First, they worked with 35 children, 4-year-olds, from the Kindergarten of Carlos Ribas Public Elementary School, since these kids could pass on the ideas to their parents and families (who were drivers and pedestrians) about the importance of respecting the traffic signs, of crossing the street safely and using the crosswalk.

For this action, the girl students dressed as princesses to call the children’s attention, and they made a parody of the song from the Disney movie, Frozen, (as the video https://youtu.be/aCmW3ZqcweM). They made up a playful activity: children represented drivers and pedestrians on the street and on the crosswalk, in order to learn how to respect each other on the roads, how to drive and to how cross the streets safely. The kids who took part in the activity were very receptive and showed a lot of interest during the activity.

The second stage was the "Awareness Day", in which the 15 students - the girls dressed as princesses and the boys as traffic lights and cars - built a very colorful tent in the main square of the town, with photos they had taken of accidents, traffic signs, and balloons. In this square and on the streets around it, they made a distribution of pamphlets warning drivers and pedestrians of the importance of using the crosswalk and seat belts (according to the video https://youtu.be/aFvfxaP_InI). The focus of this activity were adults, but children who passed by there also became interested in the students´ actions and the characters they played, so they could use that moment to raise awareness of parents and children together, in an enjoyable way.

The project was so well accepted by the community that the students attracted the attention of many people who passed by the square. So, during their actions, they were interviewed by a local magazine, called “On”. In addition, members of the local government who watched their performance invited them to participate in a project about traffic education called “Maio Amarelo” ("Yellow May"), which will be done by the local government, and these students will built again their stand in the main square of the town and will make people aware on the city streets. The actions developed by the students were recognized by the city council and they were honored.

Other stories in Brazil