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Portland law firm encourages young drivers to 'Arrive Alive'

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Portland law firm encourages young drivers to 'Arrive Alive'

PORTLAND — When it comes to raising awareness for safe driving, they mean business.

Now entering its 11th year, the Arrive Alive Contest created by the Law Offices of Joe Bornstein encourages high school seniors from around the state to submit creative work they believe will raise awareness about the dangers of drunk and distracted driving.

"Our attorneys see first hand the end results of dangerous accidents that are caused by dangerous driving," said Nathan Bergeron, who works in the law firm's marketing and public relations department and spearheads the contest. "So it really hits home to us."

Bergeron said the goal of the contest is to get high school students thinking about the dangers of drunk and distracted driving, and to reward them for doing so.

"Kids are told by parents, told by teachers, don't drink and drive, don't text and drive, it's like don't, don't, don't," Bergeron said. "This contest asks them to sort of think proactively and creatively to come up with a message to spread to their peers about these dangers. It's great because it gets them involved. It's not the teachers, not the parents."

Bergeron said the contest has had over 600 students enter. He said between 100 and 150 students typically enter each year, and every year sees more entries than the previous one.

"In the blink of an eye your life can change, and we see that and that's why we feel it's important to sort of help spread the message just to be safe on the roads," Bergeron said.

Joe Bornstein said his attorneys see accidents related to drunk and distracted driving practically on a daily basis.

"It's a very scary proposition, especially for the young people. Of course this program really emphasises the high school seniors, that's the focus," he said.

Bornstein added the range of submissions is often unique, from written essays, to artwork, to videos.

"It's amazing the responses we get," he said in a telephone interview. "We've received everything from a game board to a line of customized clothing, to essays and poems and videos. Just everything you can imagine, every kind of creative entry that kids can think of, and some of it's quite compelling."

Bornstein said it has been a privilege to continue the program.

"We're just so really touched by the support that the kids have given for this program, and the way the high schools have embraced the program," he said. 

The top five winners each get a new laptop computer. The next five winners get an iPad and the next 10 winners get an iPod. Everyone who enters gets a grab bag from the law office. Winners are chosen by a pool of judges, based on broad appeal and mediums chosen. The law firm hosts a reception for the top 20 after they've been announced.

Bergeron said the contest takes a lot of time and effort to put, but the payoff is knowing their contribution to the community.

"Not everybody knows about it, but at the same time we're reaching the kids in the schools and that's what matters most," Bergeron said.

The deadline for submissions is May 22, 2015.

Colin Ellis can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 123 or cellis@theforecaster.net. Follow him on Twitter: @colinoellis.