SUDBURY, Ontario, Nov. 30, 2018 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Students attending school in the Greater Sudbury area and Manitoulin Island are safer thanks to the hard work and dedication of Francine Blais and the Sudbury Student Services Consortium.  

Blais and the Consortium were honoured by CAA South Central Ontario (CAA SCO) today, with a Provincial Achievement Award, that acknowledges this community partner’s hard work and dedication shown over the last seven years leading the CAA School Safety Patrol (SSP) program in the region. 

“Francine’s work with Great Sudbury CAA School Safety Patrol program is making a real difference. She has shown incredible initiative and dedication to the quality and sustainability of the program, helping to ensure that kids have the knowledge and skills to stay safe as they travel to and from school,” said Albert Pasceri, community relations specialist, CAA South Central Ontario.

Blais introduced the SSP program to the Greater Sudbury area in 2011, and has consistently expanded its impact and reach, while maintaining sustainability and quality. Blais and her team have trained numerous students on school safety and leadership across the region. This year alone, they trained nearly 500 Bus Patrollers across multiple School Boards.

“Francine is a true collaborator, working with multiple OPP officers and community partners to bring safety training to schools across the region. She has shown leadership and advocacy towards improved safety in school transportation and keeps safety education fun and engaging,” continued Pasceri.

The School Safety Patrol program was first developed in Canada in 1929. During this time, the automobile was quickly rising in popularity, and collisions involving children aged four to 14 were at an alarmingly high rate. The program aims to protect and educate young children from being injured or killed in traffic collisions by teaching them safe-street crossing practices and bus safety.

As part of the award, the Sudbury Student Services Consortium receives a $1,500 cheque to be used towards the SSP program in the region, a CAA Plus Membership for the program leader being acknowledged, a plaque, and a special awards ceremony. 

The CAA School Safety Patrol program is a joint effort between CAA, the police, school boards, busing consortia, teachers, parents and approximately 20,000 dedicated student volunteers. Those involved give their time to ensure their peers remain safe at road crossings and on school buses throughout Ontario. Approximately 800 schools in Ontario participate in the SSP program and CAA SCO partners with over 55 police services to deliver the program. For more information, visit www.caaschoolsafetypatrol.com.

About CAA South Central Ontario
As a leader and advocate for road safety and mobility, CAA South Central Ontario is a not-for-profit auto club which represents the interests of over 2 million members. For over a century, CAA has collaborated with communities, police services and governments to help keep drivers and their families safe while travelling on our roads.

For further information contact:

Nadia Matos
PR Specialist
P: (905) 771-3058
C: (416) 523 0663
E: nm12@caasco.ca
Kaitlynn Furse
PR Manager
P: (905) 771-3194
C: (647) 227-7559
E: kfur@caasco.ca

A photo accompanying this announcement is available at http://www.globenewswire.com/NewsRoom/AttachmentNg/01e00aeb-a2a2-4053-8c8c-fa6435e104f2