Komel S. Patel, a student at the Florida International University, is the 2016 recipient of a $1500 scholarship for her Family Safety Contract submission
Ms. Patel will be starting her freshman year at the Florida International University this year, and will be majoring in Biomedical Engineering. Ms. Patel is an avid martial arts trainee, and has been training for 5 years within which she has attained a 2nd degree black belt!
Komel, along with hundreds of other applicants, were asked to create and submit a “Family Safety Contract”, together with an essay on the importance of creating this Family Safety Contract and the commitment to this contract by parents and children alike, whilst detailing specific experiences where safety plans and discussions can help us all. Our desire is to help students with their educational goals while also raising awareness about safety, planning and maintaining a mindset of safety first. Komel not only met, but exceeded all of our expectations with her submission of this essay and Family Safety Contract
Congratulations from all of us at Abrahamson & Uiterwyk and best of luck in your academic pursuits!
Here is the winning essay:
Family Safety Essay
Written by: Komel S. Patel
It was about 7 PM, the sun had already set, and my parents had given me $5 to buy a gallon of milk, and their credit card to rent a Redbox movie. While they waited in the car, I made my way into the grocery store to pick up the needed items. As I finished checking out the gallon of milk, and picking out a movie for the family to watch, I started to make my way outside to the car. Right as I walked out the automatic doors, There was a ‘ding’ from my phone, notifying me that someone had texted. With the milk gallon and Redbox in one hand, and my phone in the other, I started replying back to my friend while continuing my way across the road to the parking lot. It wasn’t until the big SUV honked its horn and slammed the brakes, I realized that I was 2-3 seconds away from being run over by the monstrous vehicle driven by a fellow teenager. I froze, briefly, and then walked quickly to the area where the cars weren’t still going 20 mph. Foul thoughts started to run through my mine. “Did he seriously not see me walking? How stupid must he be?!” I then continued my way to the car at the back of the lot, infuriated with the ignorance of the driver. The speed limit in the parking lot had a maximum speed of 10 mph. But then it hit me. “Did I really just NOT realize that there was a car coming this way? More importantly, was I that distracted to not notice where I was walking?” I was 17, and I absolutely forgot to look both ways, a lesson taught by parents to their children at the age they begin to walk! I was ignorant myself! I slid the phone back into my back pocket, got into the car, and quietly sat inside as if nothing ever happened.
We, as a society, are always discussing the topic of distracted driving, and how it’s almost equivalent, if not worse, to driving while under the influence. But we fail to acknowledge the fact that our fellow pedestrians are also partially accountable to the dangers that may occur. Though pedestrians believe they have the right of way at the marked crosswalks, they must be equally responsible for being alert of their surroundings. Pedestrians too, share the blame for being distracted while commuting.
It is the ignorance and the distraction that can ultimately lead to a fatality, including anything from injury to death. Families become drastically impacted, both physically and emotionally. One minor misstep can cause one major accident, turning the lives of the victims and their families upside down.
The biggest concern of distraction in this day is cell phones. People are constantly checking their Instagram notifications, texting back their friends, and snapchatting virtually every moment of their day. Drivers and pedestrians, alike, have a problem of paying attention to one task at a time, especially during the times that need 100% of their focus. According to the National Safety Council, pedestrian-vehicle injuries are the fifth leading cause of death for those between the ages of 5 and 19. It is for this crucial reason families should create a safety contract.
We all love our families. This makes it important to create a Family Safety Contract. Families everywhere want a sense of safety for their loved ones, making it a necessity to create a contract between children and their parents to keep each other safe.
The following can be set as an example of guidelines for a Family Safety Contract between parents and their children.
Family Safety Contract
- I WILL pay attention to my surroundings
- I WILL NOT drive distracted
- I WILL safely pull over to the side of the road if it’s urgent to text or call someone back.
- I WILL NOT wear headphones to listen to music while walking on the street or driving
- I WILL look both ways before crossing the street
- I WILL NOT drive faster than the given speed limit
- I WILL wear a seat belt at all times
- I WILL NOT walk anywhere with my head down
- I WILL be a safe driver and pedestrian
As teenagers and young adults, we believe we’re invincible. But the fact of the matter is that it can be only 2 seconds that makes the difference between life and death. Remember, the text, notification, and snap can wait. It simply isn’t worth it.