by Stacey Tisdale
A Quick Self-Test
Do you consider yourself a Peer Leader? If you answered “no,” why not? Being a Peer Leader is a role that all TDS team members possess, sometimes even when they don’t think they are doing much at all. Take a look at the questions below and see if you change your mind:
- Do you help educate others about a cause within your community?
- Do you encourage others to make a positive impact?
- Do you empower others to also educate or make a positive impact?
If you answered “yes” to any of these, then I’m happy to let you know that YOU are a Peer Leader. It may feel sometimes that you are not making any impact in your school, but if you are creating a conversation on the topic of safe driving, you are making an impact. However, a positive impact (one that can be measured) unfortunately takes years to produce. A daunting idea, but that is also true of any impact. True impact (we’re not talking popular trends) just doesn’t happen overnight.
Our data* shows that risk knowledge (do students in your school know the top teen driving risks) and risk behavior (do they take risks behind the wheel) takes an average of three years to change. That means meaningful activities and messaging – talking about safe driving – consistently for three or more consecutive years. While that seems like an impossible task, think about this: three years will pass no matter what you are doing! Time is relentless that way. So, why not change something for the better with the time you have?
*Data is tracked at your school when you complete the annual surveys. We also provide a report back with your school’s data.
Stacey Tisdale is a certified peer program educator, the Georgia and California Teens in the Driver Seat representative, and creative manager for the Youth Transportation Safety Program.