The AAA of Michigan presented a $28,000 check to the Detroit Public Schools (DPS) to help expand its volunteer patrol program that helps keep children safe as they walk to and from schools and bus stops. DPS leaders received the check at Fisher Magnet Lower Academy on Wednesday.
The funds will support the district’s “Safe Routes to School” program in 14 key school zones and pay for the reflective safety vests worn by volunteers on foot patrols as well as gas cards for volunteers who drive around schools.
"We are pleased to partner with the Detroit Public Schools on this important safety program, which begins as doors open for the new school year," said Chuck Podowski, president and CEO of AAA/The Auto Club Group, who addressed school officials, citizen patrol volunteers and AAA safety patrollers at the event earlier this week.
Podowski noted the AAA’s commitment to DPS dates back to 1919, when the organization established the first School Safety Patrol at Detroit's Alger Elementary School. Today, AAA sponsors 32,836 safety patrollers in 1,076 schools statewide, with 1,436 patrollers at 778 schools in Detroit, including Fisher Magnet Lower Academy.
“We are going to work more closely with our safety patrollers at this school and others in the Safe Routes program. We will provide more training and support to help our young patrollers,” he added.
DPS Police Chief Rod Grimes echoed this enthusiasm for increasing the number of patrollers and areas that they cover.
“We are creating safer routes to and from school by expanding our citizen patrol teams,” said Grimes. “The more concerned citizens who volunteer, the safer our children will be as they travel to and from school.”
The latest AAA donation is the first to be given in response to the district's “call to action” for support in widening its citizen volunteer patrol programs and providing greater safety and security to students off campus.
“The safety of our students is a top priority for Detroit Public Schools,” said DPS Emergency Manager Jack Martin. “The strong support and engagement we receive from the community helps us keep our students safer."
In addition to Fisher Magnet Lower Academy, the other school zones utilizing more of the “Safe Routes” volunteer patrols include the Osborn campus; Cody campus; Martin Luther King, Jr. Senior High; East English Village Preparatory High School; Sampson-Webber; Emerson; Bow; J.R. King; Fisher Upper; Mason; Communication and Media Arts; Henderson; and Noble.
AAA Michigan has been active in traffic safety since its founding nearly a century ago, with programs on teen driving safety and road safety. It is part of The Auto Club Group (ACG), the second largest AAA club in North America.