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#SpreadingTheWord: #iY4Peds launches #BFFSeminole, a Twitter tale

The Best Foot Forward program launched in Seminole County on October 2. With more than 100 people in attendance, the launch ceremony was a great success. 17 new partners joined the Best Foot Forward Coalition– making it the largest grassroots coalition in the country, focused on pedestrian safety. You can read our traditional recap of the event here. But we felt like the momentum we built on social media leading up to- and the day of the launch was worthy of a post! #WeDidIt #BFFSeminole

New coalition partners include: Seminole County, the Seminole County Sheriff’s Office, the City of Casselberry, the Casselberry Police Department, the City of Lake Mary, the Lake Mary Police Department, the City of Longwood, the Longwood Police Department, the City of Oviedo, the Oviedo Police Department, the City of Sanford, the Sanford Police Department, the City of Winter Springs, the Winter Springs Police Department, Altamonte Springs Police Department, Seminole County Public Schools, the Seminole County School Crossing Guards and the Florida Department of Health: Seminole County.

At the launch ceremony, our new partners took the opportunity to tell the world that they were united in the mission of making Seminole County safer for people crossing the street. October 2 was International Walk to School Day, and what better way to kick off #BFFSeminole than teaching kids how to get to school safely by walking on sidewalks, crossing at crosswalks, and always looking Left-Right-Left?

As our new partners from the Seminole County Sheriff’s Office and Oviedo Police Department walked kids safely to Evans Elementary School, people started showing up at our launch event.

Once the crowd was gathered, our fabulous guest speakers spoke about the importance of teamwork in making the BFF program a success. Seminole County Commissioner Bob Dallari kicked things off.

Gary Huttmann, Executive Director of MetroPlan Orlando, “rallied the troops”.

Special Guest Roni Wood helped put a face to the statistics, as she told her story of how she was hit by a driver while walking in a crosswalk. Roni says her mission is to overcome her personal obstacles, and work to make sure no other pedestrian goes through a similar experience. She counts herself among the lucky ones.

Special Guest Wendy Goodrich’s father was not so lucky. He was hit and killed riding his bike at a trail crossing in Seminole County. This was the first time Wendy had shared her story publicly. She wants to help raise awareness of Florida’s driver yield law, and work to facilitate change in driver behavior– get more drivers to stop for people in crosswalks.

Seminole County Sheriff Dennis Lemma asked the audience to consider our littlest pedestrians– on this International Walk to School Day.

Sanford Police Chief Cecil Smith lamented Central Florida’s ranking as the deadliest place in the country for pedestrians, but assured us his City is already taking steps to make the streets safer.

Mayor Charlene Glancy of Casselberry has some amazing goals for her city. And we totally support the name change.

For Winter Springs Commissioner TiAnna Hale, this is personal. Her sisters and her mother were all school crossing guards.

Dr. Walt Griffin, Superintendent of Seminole County Public Schools, discussed the importance of keeping our children safe. They are the future, after all.

Venice White, Programs Manager for Florida Health on Seminole County, spoke about the need for walking as part of a healthy lifestyle.

Bike/Walk Central Florida board member and founder Lisa Portelli finished the ceremony with a truly inspiring message, “We’re not counting lives lost, we’re counting behavior changed and more drivers ARE yielding to pedestrians.”

After our amazing speakers finished, we headed outside for a fitting photo-op.

But Rome wasn’t built in a day…

…and like Rome, the Best Foot Forward program took a lot of work to launch in Seminole County. Once our partners were officially on board, we chose the crosswalks.

Once the crosswalks were chosen, we started monitoring them.

Our data collectors joined representatives from the cities and their law enforcement agencies to record the number of drivers that yielded and stopped for people crossing the street, and sometimes we got the information from the horses mouth.

To make a public statement, our partners “resolved” to create safer streets by joining Best Foot Forward.

Getting the word out

Our community partners helped us spread the word.

Thanks to our amazing partners for getting the word out. We, like The Beatles, get by with a little help from our friends.

A big thank you to WFTV for helping us spread the word about #BFFSeminole and pedestrian safety in Central Florida.

Couldn’t attend the launch?

Luckily, you can can catch everything you missed below.

Feel free to jump on YOUR favorite social media platform and support #BFFSeminole and #iY4Peds. Together we can do #GreatThings.

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