Per Montgomery County: The Montgomery County Department of Transportation (MCDOT), for the first time, will have its social media platforms taken over for 24 hours by local youth safety advocates from the County’s Vizion Zero Youth Ambassador Program on Monday, May 8. The youth-created posts will appear on MCDOT’s Twitter, Facebook and Instagram platforms under the handle @MCDOTNow.
The goal of the Vision Zero Youth Ambassador Program, managed by MCDOT, is to equip young adults to be the next generation of traffic safety leaders. The program teaches County high school students about traffic safety, the importance of roadway design, law enforcement and education programs to achieve the goal of zero deaths.
“We were one of the first County governments in the nation to put together a Vision Zero plan and have also partnered with our governments across the region to make this a priority in the DMV,” said County Executive Marc Elrich. “We have and will continue to fund road safety programs and resources with the goal of eliminating all serious crashes and fatal collisions by 2030. That pledge is to prioritize the safety of cyclists, walkers, drivers and those who use scooters. To reach this goal we need to have our youth involved. We need to raise awareness for the next generation, and we need their input and creativity in developing solutions.”
Montgomery high school students selected to be youth ambassadors learn about the County’s Vision Zero Initiative and participate in projects that bring awareness to safety needs in around the County. Youth Ambassadors are tasked to complete a group project that encompasses engineering or education topics. The MCDOT social media takeover was one group’s educational project.
“Our Youth Ambassadors come up with highly original and impactful programs every year,” said MCDOT Director Chris Conklin. “This social media takeover is a great way to amplify the voices of our local students. We can learn so much from them and I look forward to hearing what they have to say.
The Youth Ambassador program is in partnership with the National Organizations for Youth Safety (NOYS), a national youth-powered organization. The mission of NOYS is to unite, equip and build capacity for young people to lead in addressing the most pressing health and safety issues affecting them today.
“Youth have a lot to say about safety in our communities,” said NOYS Executive Director Jacob Smith. “I think we need to see more of this—listening to youth and giving them a platform to raise concerns and talk about what is important to them can have a positive impact on traffic safety throughout the county and nation.”