Ryan Hopkin, 17, of Powell, Wyo., a senior at Powell High School, improved safety conditions for young children by installing crosswalk flags at dangerous intersections around three elementary schools. "One day while I was driving with my mother, I witnessed a young boy almost get hit by a car while trying to cross the street," explained Ryan. "Since that time I wanted to find a way to help these children make their trips back and forth from home to school safer." Ryan soon found an answer on a family trip to Salt Lake City, where he saw canisters containing neon-orange flags at busy intersections for pedestrians to carry when crossing the street.
Ryan presented a plan for a similar system to school and city leaders in Powell. With their approval, he worked with city officials, school principals and parent organizations at Powell's three elementary schools to develop a list of locations. Ryan solicited donations to purchase materials, and then recruited help from family members and his Boy Scout troop to make canisters and mount them on posts at crosswalks. The city's street superintendent agreed to purchase and post instructional signs at the crosswalks, and finally, Ryan delivered flags to the principals of the elementary schools with a letter explaining how to use them. "I believe these flags will make pedestrians more visible and will help drivers realize they are responsible for stopping for pedestrians," said Ryan.