It’s been heartbreaking to watch the news unfold around the world with the terrible consequences of COVID-19. Equally, it’s been heartwarming to see communities come together and make sacrifices to protect the more vulnerable. Protecting the vulnerable and creating safe following distances on the road have always been strong themes of the RYDA program. We carried those themes through to our COVID-19 management plan, suspending our workshops through lockdown and creating bespoke classroom and distance learning resources to ensure road safety remained priority learning.
As public transport is either shut-down or to be avoided and more drivers are heading onto our roads feeling anxious and stressed, now is not the time to leave our most vulnerable without the critical road safety strategies and motivations that come from RYDA.
RYDA is an essential youth development program – so many of the topics we discuss in RYDA, like identifying and controlling mindstate, understanding personal risk profiles and thinking socially are such critical tools at time where uncertainty and fear is in abundance. We have made sure our teachers don’t have to wait for the world to return to ‘normal’ or for the re-scheduled face-to-face RYDA workshops to give their students the tools they need now to navigate the unknown.
We are so fortunate that our incredible sponsors (in Australia & New Zealand: BOC and Bridgestone | in Australia: Toyota, MTAA Super and Boral and | in New Zealand: NZ Steel and AMI) support us in a way that has allowed RSE to continue providing the RYDA Program to our schools, even when the RYDA workshops were on hold.
In consultation with the team, the RSE staff accepted significantly reduced hours while retaining momentum and enthusiasm to support schools and the community with a variety of learning options.
This is a changing situation and we will continue to adapt. See our latest newsletter for a more comprehensive update on RYDA 5.0 workshops and RYDA 5.0 at a Social Distance.
Below are some of the key aspects of our pandemic response and updates on the current situation:
- We created extra distance lesson ideas, boredom busters, Kahoot! quizzes and homeroom challenges that we sent to our schools. These short activities helped students stay connected, while learning a little more about road safety and building resilience and life skills in these uncertain times.
- We’re back up and running with RYDA workshop excursions in New Zealand and some areas of Australia.
- Where excursions can’t be run, and it is safe to do so, we’re bringing the RYDA workshop to schools. We’re offering the RYDA workshop in-school, where practical and within school and government guidelines.
- As students headed out of isolation and back to school, we hand selected some of our great resources to use in the classroom. As workshops resume, we’re tying in the classroom learnings and student experience with our sessions, using the work students have done at home and in the classroom as critical building blocks.
- We’ve been getting in touch with schools and sending resources that they could forward to their parent network to support them as they take a bigger role in their child’s learning. Many have been finding more time for driving lessons (where government guidelines permit) and many have found themselves feeling stressed and under extra pressure on the roads. We designed a tool that, through a school’s partnership with RYDA helps them, help their community of parents, carers and whānau.
- We opened our ‘help line’ for parents and teachers needing advice as they take on topics that may be outside their comfort zones. Need help or resources on a road safety topic? Drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org
- We are following all Government guidelines and advice (differing by jurisdiction) as to large gatherings and excursions. We have, and will continue to postpone RYDA workshops in consultation with venues and schools where guidelines are in place.
- We’re continuing to be active on our social media platforms – bringing our community critical road safety messages and strategies.
- We reached out to our community of Rotary volunteers, sending ‘how to’ videos and blogs on a variety of topics (such as connecting with What’s App, completing an online grocery shop and staying fit in isolation). We’re here to help them as much as we can through these difficult times.
Our team is on stand-by to work with schools to co-design materials that will assist with classroom and distance teaching. We are also here to give teachers and parents road safety advice as they tackle a topic for which they may need some expert back-up.
As a community based organisation, we will continue in our mission to keep our community safe.
We thank our wonderful partners for making this possible. To our hard-working Rotarian volunteers, who have already put so much into making RYDA 5.0 available in their communities, we say thank you and send you our very best wishes. We pledge to stand side-by-side, as we always have, to help you deliver the RYDA workshops locally as that becomes a reality. Meanwhile, we’ll keep helping your schools and community build a strong road safety culture through our online and bespoke resources.
We are all on a bumpy road for the foreseeable future and we wish you, our community of partners, facilitators, venues, schools, parents and students a safe journey. Together we will overcome.
With warm wishes,
The RYDA team.
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From one of our teachers re RYDA 5.0 at a Social Distance:
“A fantastic initiative, we will certainly use it with our students, your support in keeping our youth engaged is appreciated.“
Here’s what one of our students told us about RYDA 5.0:
“Before coming to RYDA I had 103 hours in my logbook, attended the Safer Drivers course and did a couple of driving lessons, one of them being the Keys2Drive lesson. I thought I was a competent driver, ready to be driving on my own, but the Drive S.O.S session showed me how much I still needed to learn, for example, the video about what it’s like to be a truck driver really opened my eyes to how inexperienced I still am. It also tied well into the overall message of the session: that I need to be thinking for other people, anticipating that they might do something unexpected because other people are very unpredictable. I will certainly be me cautious next time I drive and pay close attention to what other people on or along the road may be doing”.