This Sunday from 5:00 to 10:00 pm at Round Lake Park, Eden Prairie teens will star in the big 4th of July celebration. Fifteen year old singing phenom Allie McIntosh will lead the music, starting at 7:15 pm.
Another group of stand-out teens will promote the attractions of a distraction free life to their peers. Their message: Teens who sign the pledge to not drive while distracted will make the community safer by reducing deaths and injuries. Pledge signers will qualify for a drawing to win prizes.
Elizabeth Wang, a rising senior at Minnetonka High School, will be leading the pledge promotion at the Round Lake Park booth. She’s managing two younger interns and working with the Eden Prairie Police Department. Elizabeth founded the Distraction Free Life Club at Minnetonka High School.
“I attended the Raksha 5k walk seven years ago, when my older sister Amy and her friend Suvarna Nallamalli were interns. I was so moved by the Dixit family’s story, I’ve been involved ever since in the foundation’s work.” Shreya Dixit was killed in 2007 by a distracted driver on the way home from college. Shreya’s father Vijay Dixit, is Chairman of the Shreya R. Dixit Memorial Foundation. Dixit works with Global Minnesota and the United Nations to spread the Foundation’s message internationally.
At the Road Lake Park event, Wang will lead the Raksha Bandhan pledge which is based on an Indian festival celebrating a promise to protect between a brother and a sister.
Intern program spreads the word
Funded by the Shreya R. Dixit Memorial Foundation, fifteen high school interns are working in five different groups: marketing; journalism; video promotion; outreach with Eden Prairie Police, and outreach with Dakota County. Eden Prairie Police are providing resources and contacts to amplify the group’s message.
As a rising senior who’s thinking about a career in business, economics, or finance, Wang appreciates the hands-on experience provided by her internship. “Distraction Free Living has been a great experience to learn more about marketing and branding,” she said.
“No matter how often we talk to people our age about distracted driving, we run up against a big feeling with them: ‘It probably won’t happen to me.’ I personally know two kids who were part of Minnetonka High School who died in accidents caused by distracted driving,” says Wang. “Their relatives and friends still grieve them. We don’t want more family and friends to feel the loss from an accident caused by distracted driving.”
Editor’s note- Vijay Dixit, Chairman of the Shreya R. Dixit Memorial Foundation, is also member of the non-profit board of directors at the Eden Prairie Local News.