PORTSMOUTH—Miss River Days candidate Adrienne Whitley is dedicated to bringing awareness of the dangers of distracted driving to community members of all ages with her community service platform, “Alert Today, Alive Tomorrow.”
Whitley, who is representing Clay High School in the upcoming Miss River Days Pageant, knew that her platform was one that she nurtured in her mind long before she was chosen as Miss Clay.
“I have been carrying this platform since I could remember. At the age of four, I was traveling the US from Ohio to New Mexico and I witnessed so many crashes among so many families that were hurt. I sadly saw some deaths along the way as well,” Whitley added.
Miss Clay saw that the tragedies she witnessed on the road were often highly preventable. She knew that this message needed to be spread far and wide, especially to her peers—many of which are newly licensed drivers.
“As a young child I knew how dangerous it was to be behind the wheel,” Whitley said. “I really wanted to inform the people, especially my generation, how dangerous it is when you’re on the road, and how we should be more aware of our surroundings.”
Whitley explained that especially for new drivers in her generation, access to technology such as cell phones can present a danger for distraction not previously seen in older generations of drivers. She believes that her unique position as a Miss River Days candidate can make her mission more relatable to her peers.
“It’s obviously known for police to be advocating for [this message], but I think as a younger person in this generation advocating for it, it should be taken more seriously,” said Whitley.
With a diverse turnout for her event, Whitley was pleased to see her message stick with participants of all ages. Over 70 participants gathered at the Rubyville Fire Station to learn more about Whitley’s platform.
With the help of her pageant mother, Andrea Bailey, and other supporters, Whitley was able to enlist speakers from the Rubyville and Rosemount Fire Stations, the Scioto County Sheriff’s Office, the Scioto County BMV, the Coroner’s Office, Air-EVAC, the Ohio State Highway Patrol, and more. With their credibility, information, and visual aids, Whitley hopes that her message rang through loud and clear.
Participants were able to engage in a hands-on way with the dangers of distracted or impaired driving as several interactive learning aids unfolded throughout the event, including a simulated auto crash scene designed to illustrate the potential real life consequences of distracted driving.
“We wrapped up the night with the [simulated] crash scene, and that’s when the community really came together. It was really devastating but was a really heartwarming scene to see the community come together to help one crash. I think it really meant a lot. I heard the audience have a couple of sniffles, and even some came up to me afterward telling me how much it impacted them. It really put it into perspective how I accomplished my goal. I feel so happy that guests walked out of there knowing more than when they walked in,” Whitley said.
Whitley noted that she is grateful for the wealth of support she has received from her supporters, event speakers, and pageant family. Without them, she knows that her successful event could not have been possible.
“It was so amazing for them to be so committed to this, even if it was just one event. They were so committed and it really showed, because the turnout was amazing.”
And Whitley continues to be grateful for the opportunity to be involved in her community in addition to all that her River Days journey continues to teach her.
“I think I’ve already grown so much from where I was in the beginning. It has seriously impacted me as a person more than anything else. Not only have I grown, but I have met so many amazing people, and they are just the best friends that I could ever ask for,” Whitley said. “That’s probably my favorite aspect of this journey.”
Follow Miss Clay, Adrienne Whitley, as well as the other Miss River Days candidates online at friendsofportsmouth.com/river-days-festival. The Portsmouth River Days Festival will take place from September 2nd through September 4th, 2022.
Reach Kasie McCreary at (740)353-3101 ext. 1931, or by email at [email protected]
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