“We are proud to partner and oversee this valuable, life-saving program. YOVASO’s mission is to support young people through education, empowerment and encouragement so they can become smart, safe drivers. This partnership is a win-win and will only enhance both our efforts as we work to prevent crashes, injuries and fatalities involving our teens.” – Colonel W. Steven Flaherty, Virginia State Police Superintendent.
As of October 1, 2014, YOVASO is now under the Virginia State Police (VSP). Prior to receiving direction under the VSP, YOVASO was administered by the Virginia State Police Association (VSPA). The transition from VSPA to VSP means troopers will be able to continue providing knowledge and traffic expertise to YOVASO in order to help Virginia’s teens avoid pitfalls to dangerous driving behaviors.
The VSP was conceived in 1919 and established in 1932. The agency originated out of the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles as an inspector and enforcer of highway laws. VSP achieved its initial accreditation in 1986, and was the second state law-enforcement agency in the nation to receive such a prestigious recognition. YOVASO is excited and fortunate to have the VSP as its official sponsor and grant administrator.
The Virginia Highway Safety Office funds the YOVASO program through federal highway safety grants and has done so since the program’s inception in 2001. As a VaHSO grantee, YOVASO has access to all the expertise and resources of the Highway Safety Office and is monitored and evaluated annually by the state. YOVASO is endorsed by VaHSO and is the Commonwealth’s only Peer-to-Peer Education and Prevention Program for Teen Driver Safety.
VaHSO is located within the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles and is responsible for administering federal highway safety funds and developing the state’s Strategic Highway Safety Plan. In addition, the office is a resource to the Virginia Legislature on highway safety issues, and to communities statewide that are focusing on highway safety-related initiatives.
“As troopers, our members see young people killed in traffic crashes every day. Our involvement with YOVASO is a way to encourage and impact young people.”
The Virginia State Police Association (VSPA) was YOVASO’s official sponsor and grant administrator from August 2007 to September 2014. Under the VSPA’s guidance, YOVASO expanded statewide in 2007. With more than 2,000 troopers and retired troopers as members, the VSPA offered a wealth of resources to assist YOVASO in its mission to support peer-to-peer programs in schools throughout the Commonwealth. Troopers currently assist with school clubs, YOVASO retreats, and other educational and awareness events across the state.
VSPA was founded in 1974 and is the only association in Virginia representing members of the Virginia State Police. With its motto of “To be mutually helpful to one another,” VSPA provides scholarships, retirement grants, and emergency relief funds for its members and for school and community safety programs across the Commonwealth. Since its inception, the Virginia State Police Association has been an honored and professional organization and is now providing services and benefits far exceeding all previous expectations.
Although YOVASO is sponsored by the Virginia State Police and grant-funded by the Virginia Highway Safety Office, our program relies heavily on donations and support from outside sources to help fund many of our safe driving initiatives for teens. Through these partnerships, YOVASO is able to expand services to our peer-to-peer programs and have a greater impact on the safety of our youth.
The Bedford Community Health Foundation is YOVASO’s newest partner. The partnership began in 2015 when the Foundation became the fiduciary agent for YOVASO and it’s parent YOVASO Advisory Board. The Bedford Community Health Foundation was established in 1984 to support healthcare needs for Bedford residents. Today the Foundation works to identify and address community health needs; awards scholarships for nursing programs and allied health education; makes grants to non-profit organizations providing direct health services; encourages community involvement through donations and service; and serves as a community health information resource.
BRTSB founded the YOVASO program in 2001 in response to the increasing number of teens killed in Virginia and its dedication to youth and young drivers. The organization and its affiliate, the Blue Ridge Regional Crash Investigation Team, continue to support YOVASO and provide a wealth of expertise and resources for the program. BRTSB was founded in 1988 and is composed of traffic safety advocates from both the public and private sector who serve the specific and direct traffic safety needs of Central and Southwestern Virginia.
Since 2011, YOVASO has been partnering with The Allstate Foundation to secure funding for its statewide campaigns for member schools, such as the “Save Your Tail-Gate, Buckle Up” campaign held each fall. The annual Allstate Foundation grants have enabled YOVASO to reach more schools and impact a larger number of students through the purchase of additional educational materials, incentive items, and prizes for the campaigns. The Allstate Foundation has been in existence since 1952 and is dedicated to helping people overcome personal challenges and uncertainties – leading to better, safer lives. The Foundation supports a range of programs across the nation and at the state and local level and has channeled it focus to initiatives that address Teen Safe Driving and Domestic Violence.
In 2013, YOVASO welcomed The Century Council to its partnering organizations as a new sponsor for the “Buckle Up, Drive Sober” campaign held each winter. Through this partnership, YOVASO was able to purchase additional materials and offer cash prizes and judge’s choice awards to regional winners. Through The Century Council’s partnership, more schools participated in the campaign, having a greater impact on students statewide. The Century Council is a not-for- profit organization founded in 1991 that is dedicated to developing and implementing programs that fight drunk driving and underage drinking.
Since our inception in 2001, YOVASO has been partnering with NOYS to bring national teen safe driving initiatives to Virginia. YOVASO teams up with NOYS to promote Global Youth Traffic Safety Awareness Month among schools in Virginia each May and sends YOVASO youth leaders to NOYS conferences and forums to learn best practices for promoting safe driving among youth. NOYS is a collaboration of over 70 national, youth-serving organizations, including non-profit organizations, business and industry leaders, and government agencies, with the common goal of promoting safe and healthy behaviors among our nation’s youth.
YOVASO also partners with the following organizations on teen safe driving initiatives