Weekend Youth Groups – Youth Crime, Can it be Decreased?

Kars for Kids has a unique approach

"Kars for Kids youth groups" "Kars for Kids ChillZone" "Kars for Kids ChillZone Philly"

Oh no; this is the feeling that many parents feel when they hear it’s a snow day. My mother loved snow days. She would spend time with us kids. She genuinely enjoyed her time with us. We would have nice activities, play in the snow, drink hot cocoa, maybe do some baking – all in all just enjoy some family time. As kids we didn’t grow up with the plethora of video games, the internet, the type of entertainment that we have nowadays for our youth. Oh sure, we had some videos, even a few select video games which my mother carefully screened but we enjoyed spending time together as a family as well. My siblings and I enjoyed using our childish imaginations creating stories out of thin air, acting them out and just having a grand old time together.

Don’t think that everything was just dandy and a bowl of cherries. We definitely had our issues, our need for disciplinary action, consequences, and time out. We were after all normal and healthy kids. One thing though is that we were able to be just that, normal and healthy kids that tend to get themselves into trouble; the type of trouble a balanced kid gets into. I.e. sibling rivalry and the like.

When a snow day comes around today, when it comes to the weekends especially Friday and Saturday nights, there are many parents with worry written all over their faces. They wait with anxiety hoping their child will not be abused, use illegal substances, come home in one piece and not get involved in some sort of trouble with the authorities. These weekend nights are not those simple weekend nights to enjoy with family and friends in a healthy setting. Drinking, promiscuity, drug use, and other youth crimes are prevalent on these weekend nights.

Various cities have worked on getting this youth crime rate down. They worked on having structures which would hopefully decrease the trouble. In some instances parts of this worked. In some the crime was just displaced (not decreased) from one part of the city to another – From night to day.

These parents wish that their children would take it easy on their nervous wreck parents and just go back in time to those innocent playful times. Kars for Kids recognized this need both from the parents’ perspective and from an educator’s perspective. Kars for Kids initiated youth groups over the weekend in a fun, yet educational setting. The kids play sports, they learn a bit, and they play a bit. There’s some food and there are adult mentors there for support. They see that the weekend can be fun and safe, relaxing and educational. They come back to school on Monday with a refreshing feeling. The parents of these children go to sleep Saturday night calm and happy. Their children are being normal children. They’re having fun in a healthy setting. They’re not getting phone calls from the police in middle of the night.

These children who are part of these weekend youth programs are going on to graduate high school. It’s truly amazing to even consider that weekend youth groups along with other opportunities as well can actually have such an effect on young kids.

17 Interesting Facts about Cars

Making the Everyday Use of Cars More Fun & Interesting

huge parking lot

There is so much talk about cars, driving, safety and many other topics revolving around our commutes, travels and day to day driving. What about some interesting and less known facts about cars and driving?

  1. Where does the term dashboard really come from? The original term evolved from placing a wooden board in back of the horses in front of the carriage to prevent mud from splattering up from the horses’ feet and wheels.
  2. Did you know that holding the remote car key fob to your head doubles the range because a human skull acts as an amplifier? Sounds funny to me as well but it looks like others believe in this also… Try it!
  3. Toyota skull amplifier tweet

  4. Cars are the most recycled product in the world. Approximately 95% of retired cars are recycled. About 27 million cars are recycled each year.
  5. An average car has 30K parts – most of them are recyclable.
  6. The longest duration of owning and driving one car is 82 years. The owner was a gentleman by the name of Allen Swift. His dad bought him a Piccidilly-P1 Roadster by Rolls Royce as a graduation gift in 1928 for $10,900 (worth $141,700 in 2010).
  7. There are 1 billion cars currently in use on planet earth.
  8. In 2013 65,140,268 cars were produced averaging 178,466 cars produced a day.
  9. There are more cars than people in the world (not necessarily in use). Most cars manufactured are not sold and are disposed of in various lots around the world. More cars are made than are sold.
  10. The “New car smell” which many of us love, is made up of a combination of various volatile compounds (possibly dangerous to inhale).
  11. Cruise control was invented in 1948 by Ralph Teetor. His idea came out of frustration from riding with his lawyer who kept slowing the car and speeding up during the drive.
  12. Irv Gordon drove his 1966 Volvo P1800 over a period of 47 years totaling in 3 million miles.
  13. It takes Ford’s Dearborn plant 6 hours to build an F-150 truck.
    Ford’s robots who install windshields are named Bumper & Blinker. Ford Plant Tour
  14. The first automobile accident ever, occurred in Ohio City, Ohio nearby Cleveland. In 1891 James William Lambert’s car hit a tree root causing the car to swerve out of control and crash into a hitching post. Injuries thankfully were minor.
  15. Electric cars have very little if no sound. Per the NHTSA this presents danger both to blind people and children. The natural engine sound approaching alerts them to a vehicle approach. Nissan is working a special beautiful sound reminiscent of the flying cars in “Blade Runner”. Other automakers are doing similar projects to create sound for their electric cars. Fascinating, no?
  16. Car Radio Banned? When the car radio was introduced, some states wanted to ban it since it can be a distraction while driving.
  17. Volkswagen, introduced in 1937 by Hitler as the People’s Car (originally named in German Volkswagenwerk), owns Audi, Bentley, Bugatti, Lamborghini, Porsche, SEAT, and Skoda.
    General Motors owns Buick, Cadillac, Chevrolet, and GMC.
    Toyota owns Lexus, Scion, Daihatsu, and Hino Motors.
  18. In 2013 free petrol AKA gasoline was given out in Sydney, Australia as part of a campaign promoting a gasoline called E10.


I find that these interesting car facts actually enhance my drive and are just fun to know. There is so much history to cars – and new laws, stories and other tidbits are developed all the time. If any of you have some interesting stories or tidbits please share them. I’d love to hear!

Distractions While Driving – Is Siri Helping or Hindering?

Some Thoughts on Modern Technology in New Model Cars

Siri/Driving Distraction

Is Siri a Driving Distraction for you? What about other mobile functions -hands free?

Modern technology as we know has its pros and cons. We live in an amazing world full of technological innovation. One thing particularly sticks out in my mind and in the minds of many others as well.

The telephone – What initially started as a great invention simply be able to talk with someone many miles away and hear their voice clearly, has evolved into a myriad of business opportunities, convenience at our finger tips, and an ability to resolve issues at a much faster and efficient pace.

I personally am a great fan and advocate for the use of today’s technology. On the road however, is a different story. In many cities around the country, laws have been enacted and enforced to minimize distraction while driving. Even a lapse attention to the road of a few seconds can result in a major catastrophe involving injuries, loss of life and tremendous financial losses. Texting while driving and holding a phone in your hand are two of the big no no’s while driving.

As technology is advancing at a rapid pace, distractions during driving are not merely limited to talking on a handheld device or texting. Driver Assistance Technologies, Adaptive Cruise Control, Lane Change Assist, smart devices, GPS, voice activated calls and other systems that are voice activated can present other danger issues as well.

When people try having a phone conversation on a hands-free device or try to give their GPS or other new gadget voice command instructions, frequently the connection isn’t great. The sounds can be unclear and the conversations can take on a new level of concentration. Other automated systems which are meant to make road travel easier actually can become more of a danger and distraction.

Many automakers are both excited to jump on the technology bandwagon, providing their consumers with more incentives to purchase their wares. Each car manufacturer has their own style in optimizing your ride. These same car companies are also ambivalent as to how this will all pan out. If someone decides to sue because technology caused an accident or the sort, the car makers will be the ones to assume responsibility, not the initial creators of the various gadgets.

Both cars and their technology are great. We have so many more options now. So many new things we can do and accomplish in a more systematized and easy way. Don’t give up on safety though. You, your family, and all the other people out there on or near the road deserve your appropriate attention even more than your new gadget.

So all of this new technology in our spanking brand new cars – is it worth it? I’d love to hear your feedback!

Enjoy the ride and be safe!

Kars for Kids Infamous Jingle Debuts on Television

Television – the name alone has so much meaning to it. The ability to see across the world –The ability to see things that were never visible before; be it education, business opportunities or simply a world of fun and enjoyment, the world has and never will be the same.

There have been several milestones in the world of broadcasting and advertising on television.

- 1939, the first televised major league baseball game between the Cincinnati Reds and the Brooklyn Dodgers aired on W2XBS a station of NBC.

- July 1, 1941 at 2:29 p.m. the first TV commercial ever aired on WNBT at Ebbets Field at the Brooklyn Dodgers vs. Philadelphia Phillies baseball game. The TV ad was 10 seconds long advertising Bulova watches. “America runs on Bulova time” was the entire ad. The commercial cost Bulova between $4-9.

- Thanksgiving Day, 1950 saw the first TV commercial of Coca Cola.

- Prior to the presidential elections in 1952 WWII hero, Dwight D. Eisenhower made use of TV to campaign and get his message across the nation. From very far away people felt that he was addressing them and their questions directly.

- 1950s the first Pepsi commercial aired on television, featuring James Dean (his first time as well) and a very cute commercial.

- 1963 McDonalds makes their debut TV appearance featuring the hamburger happy clown, the iconic Ronald McDonald.

- 1964 Ford Motors featured the first TV commercial of the now iconic Mustang. Ford expected to sell 100k at most. Within one month they sold over a million.

- January 9, 1984 Wendy’s the famous fast-food chain was facing serious competition from McDonald’s and Burger King. They decided to enlist actress Clara Peller and produced what became a very popular TV commercial and slogan entitled, “Where’s the Beef?”

- January 24, 1984 Apple Computer introduced the Macintosh.

- February 26, 2007 the first official ad for the first iPhone was aired publicly on television during the Academy Awards.

- Television has evolved tremendously as have the commercials on the various shows. It has brought lots of information, entertainment and has made the world smaller for all of mankind.

- This week, the future of kid’s education has reached a new milestone, as the Kars4Kids infamous jingle is being aired across TV stations around the country.

- Each child precious, their education paramount; and so Kars4Kids brings that concept visually to America through the vast medium called television.

Donate a car in 3 Easy Steps – Or is it really that easy?

Part I of a 7 Part Series

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Driving on the highway, you notice a Kars4Kids billboard. “Donate your car today!” it proclaims. A short while later, what should come on the radio but that annoying Kars4Kids’ jingle. “Donate your car today!” This gets you thinking. You’ve been wondering what to do with that old car sitting on your property that needs more repairs than you can afford.

You decide to browse the web and start doing your research. Yet when you actually make that call and speak with one of the charity’s representatives, despite the reassurances they promise that it will be smooth sailing and they handle everything including title transfer and working with the DMV, you have this gnawing feeling of uncertainty. Not only that, but the experience makes you feel uneducated as it is such a simple process but you’re so confused and nervous about how it goes.

One reason consumers in general can be nervous is that people can feel taken advantage of especially when they do not fully understand the process or the value they’re receiving. Frequently they hand over personal information, money and in our case, an item of great monetary value–a car. A car is not simply a bag of clothes you donated to The Purple Heart. It comes along with a title which has legal ramifications. A potential donor does NOT want his/her car to end up in the hands of a dishonest person as anything illegal will come back in their name unless everything has been cleared at the DMV and with their insurance.

Case in point — recently, my colleague, Mike, had such an experience with a donor. The donor was confused as to why, when he was told Tower A would call him to arrange a pickup, it was Tower B who called. Mike worked hard to help the donor by clarifying that Kars4Kids works with towing companies that work with smaller towing companies; hence, the confusion. In our jargon it’s called a double tow. This illustrates the importance of each customer service representative, who can explain how the process will work each step of the way.

At Kars4Kids, we train our representatives to clarify, clarify and clarify. Part of the training process is having the understanding that they will probably forget along the way a detail or two. That is why we offer each potential donor the opportunity to call us back with any questions at any time. From 8 am EST until 11 pm EST, our representatives answer online-chat queries of all sorts. Email is another way we can clarify our donors’ questions.

I constantly stress the importance of top customer service. Yes, we are humans and make mistakes. Our motto at Kars4Kids is to make sure we do everything in our power to make things right.

A lack of clarity is an issue to contend with in all relationships, and businesses of all types. The nicer and clearer the communication is with the person taking your call or chat, the more likely you are to use their service. What distinguishes a good business or charity from another is how they handle an issue or donation that didn’t go as smoothly as planned. If the business or charity takes responsibility and assures you that they will do everything they can to rectify the situation, nine out of ten times any business consultant will reassure you that there is nothing to worry about.

Working With Different Personality Types – Type-A and Type-B Personality Traits

Making it work with our friends, colleagues, managers, spouses, and even car donors who ALL have different personalities!

Working With Different Personality Types Different Personalities

Have you ever wondered what personalities are all about? How they contribute to the success of your work and relationships?

My work at Kars4Kids involves working in many different arenas with many different personalities. I’ve been involved with training in new customer service reps, donors’ separation anxiety from their vehicle (that they so generously donated to us), manning the phones, contributing ideas for better service and helping improve our systems, and worked with brand new potential car donors who needed a full education on what Kars4Kids is all about.

Now, I work in the online marketing arena where I get to reach out to people from across the United States sharing with them our story and what latest project we’re working on. I reach out to people who are attracted to us via social media and I am always in the mode of educating myself in the world of SEO aka Search Engine Optimization.

Being more of a deep and zany guy I started thinking about all the different personalities that I work with. There’s the boss, the various managers around the organization, my co-workers, my trainees, the post person, older people, and younger people.

Reflecting on each person and their unique personality, their work and life experience there is so much to learn, adapt for myself, teach others and even things to stay away from.

People have different backgrounds, success stories in their relationships and professional lives. There are people who are hurting and there are people who are very focused on getting their jobs done. People get discouraged from a day that they could have done better, and there are people who are celebrating every small success.

Personalities are complex. There is nature versus nurture that many of us have heard about. I sometimes feel that each company should have its own shrink, its own psychology department; a safe place where an employee can talk and figure things out. They can learn how to better their relationships in the office, communicate with their colleagues, managers and ultimately their boss.

I recently read two really cute and funny articles on buzzfeed.com (a great place to read just whatever is on the average person’s mind; from the most random to the most relevant news to be shared) by Chelsea Marshall and Matthew Perpetua. The articles were simple; “25 Surefire Ways to Annoy Your Type-A Friends” and a quiz to see where you fit in. I immediately was attracted to the headlines and thought of sharing them with you, my audience. You see we all have jobs in one way or another. We all have relationships some work out easier than others.

This got me thinking am I a Type-A or a Type-B personality. I even saw on simplypsycholgy.org that there is even a Type-C personality. Maybe I’m a mixture of all 3 or just one or two. Now with that in mind how does this affect how I connect and communicate and work efficiently together with everyone I work with?

The key is to understand ourselves, and once we start understanding ourselves better we have the opportunity to all the success awaiting us. At home, on the street, and in the office where many of us spend most of our lives.

Some references for more research:

http://elitedaily.com/life/motivation/the-25-things-that-people-with-type-a-personalities-do/

http://www.buzzfeed.com/spenceralthouse/26-side-effects-of-having-a-type-a-personality

http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/digital-leaders/201201/working-type-personality

http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/communication-success/201401/communication-success-different-personality-types

National Teen Driver Safety Week – Let’s help our teen drivers be safe!

Support Older Novice Drivers: Build Awareness of the Trend in Licensure

driver's ed

Parents ideally raise their children to become independent and “fly the coop” so to speak. They work hard helping their children to develop the skills of life, maintain healthy and consistent relationships, and to be able to build a family with someone they love and eventually do what they did – raise children of their own.

Many kids and teenagers attribute the pinnacle of independence to getting that driver’s license. No more asking Mom or Dad to take them on an errand. Now they can shop, socialize, and just explore much more easily. Driving has serious ramifications though and we will discuss many of them in coming posts. So stay tuned. I was inspired to write a series of posts as this week, October 19-25, 2014 is National Teen Driver Safety Week otherwise known as NTDSW.

Focus of this year’s NTDSW

  • What this year’s National Teen Driver Safety Week awareness campaign is addressing is the interesting fact that many teenagers will delay getting their licenses until 18 or later. Delaying getting a license can be positive in that kids too young to drive won’t be driving until they are ready. It also can mean that there are those who did not have the means to pay for the education and are now getting their license later with fewer requirements, namely a GDL.
  • Many youth may choose to drive unlicensed before the age of 18 simply because they cannot afford the requirements of the GDL.
  • In cities where there is ample public transportation, driving a car can be delayed and recommended. However, as mentioned, there are the educational and experiential deficits to be considered as well.
    In fact, one out of three teens will get a license at 18 or older without the protective benefits of Graduated Driver Licensing also known as GDL. Read more here.
  • Obtaining a license without proper education (GDL) is legal but not recommended.
  • New Jersey is the only state that requires a GDL until the age of 21.
  • Novice drivers – regardless of their age – are more likely to get into automobile accidents. Those getting licenses at 18 are more prone to having more accidents during their first month of driving than those who have gotten licenses earlier. That is, even though they are older they still do not have the education or experience.

Possible suggestions:

  • Raise the GDL minimum age to at least 20 in the rest of the states.
  • For those who get licenses at 18 or older due to socioeconomic factors, at least give yourself the education you need to be a safe driver. Parents – please take notes.
  • Read up the permit booklet. Learn the rules for driving especially for your state and those you’ll visit.
    Practice makes perfect. There is nothing to be ashamed of. Ask an older friend, mentor or parent to accompany you to practice parking, driving both in heavy city traffic and easier areas.
  • Only practice your highway driving after you’ve attained certain proficiency with city driving. Know hoe to change lanes, check your mirrors consistently, know who’s around you.
  • Take a few inexpensive lessons to brush up on your driving skills. Even if you’re not required to get the GDL (which can be much more time consuming and expensive) at least get some professional guidance for 3 or so sessions. I did it and it proved to be very valuable and affordable!
  • These suggestions are from me and from The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.

    All in all they are basic and intuitive suggestions which anyone can come up with.
    When your child comes to you requesting to get their license, know that they are trying to become independent. Help them in this process; just guide them to do it responsibly as well.

    Enjoy this short video on safe driving tips for teens from The National Safety Council.