SMARTRISK is a terrific non-profit organization whose purpose is to encourage people (largely but not exclusively young people) to prevent injury by smart thinking and intelligent risk management.
SMARTRISK was started some two decades ago by Dr. Robert Conn, a paediatric heart surgeon whose job had largely evolved into taking the hearts out of dead teenagers and sticking them into the chests of fat old men.
Even as I get older and fatter, I can't help but agree with Dr. Conn who realized he could save more lives - certainly more 'person-years' - if he could find a way to keep the young people from dying in the first place.
He learned that trauma - most significantly, car crashes - was the major cause of premature death for Canadians.
So he quit what must have been a six-figure gig to start SMARTRISK. It has developed a wide range of educational and awareness programs to further its goals.
This wasn't some sort of retirement project either; Dr. Conn was only 37 years old when he started SMARTRISK.
It's hard not to be impressed by a young guy who gives up such a lucrative career to try and save the lives of my kids - and yours.
Which is why I donate half of the proceeds of my annual car photography calendar to SMARTRISK.
(Yes, it is a bit late in the year to buy a calendar, but I'll give you a discount - click HERE to visit my web site.
Dr. Conn only figured to run SMARTRISK for ten years or so; he retired a couple of years ago after seventeen years at the helm. The organization is now in the capable hands of Dr. Phil Groff.
One of SMARTRISK's latest programs is called “Is It Worth It?” With support from the State Farm Youth Advisory Board - State Farm Insurance is a major sponsor of SMARTRISK - and building on an idea developed by students at Northern Secondary School in Toronto and Leo Hayes High School in Fredericton New Brunswick, high school students were invited to produce Public Service Announcements - short videos - emphasizing the dangers of distracted driving.
Whether texting, calling on a cell phone, eating, putting on make-up, even playing music too loud or having too many people in the car, can seriously impair the driver's ability to focus on the issue at hand - namely, driving.
Over 60 videos were received, many of them showing considerable degrees of creativity and imagination.
A committee of ten “celebrities and driving experts”, according to the organizers (not sure which category they thought I fell into, but I was one of the jurors) was charged with evaluating the submissions, with the criteria being clear and accurate delivery of content, creativity and originality, use of positive messaging, strength of impact, and technical quality of the PSA.
The original plan was to narrow the field down to ten videos, which would then be judged by you, the viewing public.
But there were too many good entries, too many ties to break, so the finalist group was enlarged to fifteen.
Click HERE to visit the "Is It Worth It" web site to view these finalists, and to cast your vote. You have the entire month of April to vote. Voting rules are listed on the site.
Be prepared to be impressed by the passion and imagination of Canada's high school students.
Also, to learn more about SMARTRISK, click HERE.