Schools Are Not Drive-Thrus! Project
I am Wayne Michaud, executive director of Green Driving America, Inc., a 501c3 non-profit organization. My ministry is based on the advocacy I was led to—transportation efficiency—that will benefit people and the planet through carbon emissions reductions, energy conservation, and improving air quality and health. My organization is carrying out this advocacy with Schools Are Not Drive-Thrus!, a school community project that addresses the issue of the prolonged idling of passenger vehicles that occurs during the school dismissal period as parents/guardiens wait to pick up their children.
We plan to implement up to 13 idle-free schools campaigns for the 2021-22 school year in Northern California: in the Bay Area and the counties Mendocino, Sacramento and San Joaquin (additional Northern California counties can be considered), with participating middle and elementary schools. The goal of the project is to reduce idling at these schools by 40-50 percent as the organization has achieved in past projects.
WHY IDLE-FREE SCHOOLS CAMPAIGNS?
These campaigns will raise awareness throughout the school community of each participating school. Students, staff, administrators and motorists will learn the compelling benefits in avoiding or lessening idling on school grounds, simply by turning engines off:
• Save money in fuel use and maintenance costs
• Reduce CO2 emissions that contribute to climate change
• Reduce fossil fuel use and energy consumption
• Most importantly: protect kids health:
The U.S. EPA Idle-Free Schools Toolkit for a Healthy School Environment states: "Idling vehicles contribute to air pollution and emit air toxins, which are pollutants known or suspected to cause cancer or other serious health effects. Monitoring at schools has shown elevated levels of benzene, formaldehyde, acetaldehyde and other air toxics during the afternoon hour coinciding with parents picking up their children. Children’s lungs are still developing, and when they are exposed to elevated levels of these pollutants, children have an increased risk of developing asthma, respiratory problems and other adverse health effects. Limiting a vehicle’s idling time can dramatically reduce these pollutants and children’s exposure to them."
HOW THE CAMPAIGNS WORK
These campaigns are offered in two levels of commitment: long-term efforts and short-term efforts.
LONG-TERM EFFORT: five-step measurable campaign; middle schools only; spans four to five months
Step 1: Training session conducted virtually (such as with Zoom) in classroom, by trained college level intern (paid). PowerPoint and videos presentations on what idling means, its impact and how the campaign works. Includes organization provided campaign materials.
Step 2: Students and/or staff unobtrusively conduct three days of initial data collection of idling vehicles during afternoon dismissal.
Step 3: School announces support for idle-free campaign in school community, including a notice in school newsletter and website, and optionally letter and pledge to parents. Install two provided idle-free zone signs in strategic areas.
Step 4: Students and/or staff conduct two-day driver contact event. Campaigners create idle-free posters to display at event. All drivers offered the information handouts and anti-idling window cling decals. Event publicized locally and in social media.
Step 5: Step 2 is repeated. The difference between before and after data collection is then calculated to determine a difference in amount of idling and effects of student/staff educational efforts.
SHORT-TERM EFFORT: three-step campaign; middle or elementary school; full educational value of long-term effort without measuring steps; spans six to eight weeks
Step 1: Initial training session, same as long-term effort, minus information on measured study.
Step 2: School fully carries out support for idle-free schools campaign as in Step 3 above.
Step 3: Driver contact event occurs as in Step 4 above.
ADDITIONAL CAMPAIGN BENEFITS
• Students learn organizational, analytical and communication skills as they perform data analysis, are empowered by showing drivers the significant benefits in shutting off engines when parked, and take pride in making a positive difference in their school community
• Motorists, learning of the benefits, potentially apply them beyond schools
• Opportunity to sustain these efforts in proceeding years: we provide participating schools a written guideline to help sustain these efforts. Schools are strongly encouraged to remind the school community about the benefits in idle reduction several times each year, and to consider adopting anti-idling measures on school grounds
OUR PREVIOUS IDLE-FREE SCHOOLS PROJECTS
Green Driving America previously implemented projects have included Sacramento County Idle-Free Schools and Vermont Idle-Free Schools. These projects combined to reduce idling at participating schools by nearly 50 percent.
U.S. EPA GUIDELINE FOR OUR IDLE-FREE SCHOOLS CAMPAIGNS
Green Driving America's basic guideline for our idle-free schools campaigns comes from the U.S. EPA Region 8 Idle-Free Schools Toolkit for a Healthy School Environment.
About Green Driving America
Green Driving America Inc. is a 501c3 non-profit organization* based in Sacramento County, California. Wayne Michaud is the founder and Executive Director of the organization. Green Driving America is served by six Board of Directors members.
*IRS determination letter; California Secretary of State certificate of amendment to articles of incorporation: name change to Green Driving America
Green Driving America is committed to helping drivers make transportation choices in their lives that will benefit the planet and themselves. To achieve this goal, we place emphasis on practicing green driving methods to improve driving behavior, making the choice to drive a vehicle that consumes less fuel or no fuel at all, for consideration of choosing alternatives to driving, and for reducing the harm and waste of unnecessary vehicle idling.
Please visit the Green Driving America website ABOUT page for more details on the organization's mission, background, and listing of board of directors.
My passion for being a transportation efficiency advocate and educator has led to being presented with two clean air champion awards: from the American Lung Association of Vermont in 2009 and from the East Bay Clean Cities Coalition in California in 2019.
Thank you for your interest!
WHAT YOUR FUNDS WILL BE USED FOR
Your donations will help to enable the funding of a project that will implement up to 13 idle-free schools campaigns in the 2021-22 school year. Your donations will enable participating schools/educators to run these campaigns at no cost to them. For 13 campaigns, $16,000 is requested. That is $1,230 per campaign.
While this project is an absolute labor of love, it is time intensive with hundreds of hours associated with development and implementation time. Therefore, much of the funding requested will be for personnel compensation. Expenses incurred are also part of this request.
Specifics of what funds will be used for:
• $40 per initial training presentation (13) paid to trained college level interns
• Approximately $1,200—$40 each—for manufacturing thirty custom 15"x21" Idle Free Zone bilingual aluminum reflective signs - plus shipping two signs to each school
• Approximately $700 for printing of 750 "be idle free" window cling decals
• Miscellaneous project costs: CPA services, software subscriptions, crowdfunding fees, home office and associated utility costs
• Educator recruitment: build project webpage on the Green Driving America website to provide information for potentially interested educators; search listings of educators in California by compiling spreadsheet; sending dozens to hundreds of individual emails to educators and responding to those interested. Present Zoom overview(s) of the project to interested educators.
• Creating initial training session presentation: build an animated PowerPoint slide presentation; search for videos most effectively demonstrating the problems with idling and the benefits in avoiding it; create a teacher's campaign toolkit, handouts for students and staff to disseminate to drivers at schools, and written guidelines to school administrators for both supporting the campaign and sustaining it.
• Funding solicitations: get project word out in various forms to many hundreds of individuals and organizations such as via email and social media. To aid in this process: recruit volunteer social media marketing intern from among California universities.
• Recruit and train paid college level interns to give initial training session presentations.
• Implementing the project: as project proceeds, build webpage that provides ongoing updates as school campaigns progress, coordinate with educators and interns to arrange presentations in classes (via Zoom). And Wayne will travel (by EV) to observe some of the driver contact events in-person.
WHAT IF THE FUNDING GOAL OF $16,000 IS NOT REACHED?
Implementing 13 idle-free schools campaigns will maximize the project impact and the difference made. But our ability to implement it is not an "all or nothing" stipulation! We have the flexibility to implement the number of campaigns that the funding of the project allows, whether that would be five, 10, or more.
Support Releasing Ministry Alliance
Donate to help build this awesome website and co-create the human network.