Bennington’s Taryn Paulino – Drive to Zero Student of the Month – Presented by KDOT

Taryn Paulino is a sophomore at Bennington High School, and she is a member of the SAFE (Seatbelts Are For Everyone) program. Paulino said she first joined SAFE when she was a freshman. SAFE is a teen-run, peer-to-peer program focusing on increasing teen restraint compliance through education, positive rewards and enforcement. It is designed to bring awareness to the importance of wearing a seatbelt, therefore reducing the number of motor vehicle-related injuries and fatalities among Kansas teens. The goal of SAFE is to increase seatbelt use among students while providing strong traffic safety messages throughout the school year.

“The thing that I love the most with the program is the involvement that we can get with our community and grade school. We do a lot of activities with our grade school, and we try to always get them involved with our program. Just recently we started a little SAFE sign competition for the younger grades, where they make little signs that try to represent SAFE and messages about traffic safety. It was a great and easy way to get them involved with SAFE,” said Paulino.

Also a student-athlete at Bennington, Paulino is a member of the cross country team and the softball team.

“Our softball season just recently kicked off, and it’s been a blast so far,” said Paulino who was recently accepted into the National Honor Society program as well.

Paulino said it is important for her peers to take seatbelt safety important because it could save your life.

“I feel that the SAFE program is important because there are so many tragedies that happen that could have been stopped if proper traffic safety had been followed. Educating people and showing a good example to our community of proper traffic safety will hopefully cut down on those tragedies.”

Her plans after high school include college and possibly study business.

“I plan to go to college after I graduate high school. That college is currently unknown, but I am thinking somewhere in Wichita. I would like to pursue something maybe in the business realm, or even something along the lines of business and med,” said Paulino.

During her free time, Paulino said she enjoys fishing and the outdoors.

“There’s nothing more relaxing than just enjoying what Mother Nature gave us. I do have to admit though, good ole Netflix is never bad either.”

The sophomore offers this advice to other students looking to get involved in the SAFE program.

“I would advise them to maybe find their own reason for joining. To find a passion for it, and to find drive for it. SAFE is something that I am very passionate for, so don’t just join because it will look better on a resume, join because it means something to you.”