October 03, 2013
By Ed Rice, III
LAWT Contributing Writer
For the Toyota Motor Company ensuring that your visit to the 8th Annual Taste of Soul Family Festival is as safe as possible is their number one priority. This year Toyota returns as a premiere sponsor of the festival and their commitment to community and safety is more prevalent than ever. “It’s really important through our philanthropic programs and community programs that we represent Los Angeles and participate in what’s going on in LA,” said Dana Green, Toyota Motor North America, National Manager Corporate Diversity & Inclusion. “For Southern California our sales and marketing organization’s headquarters are here as well as our finance company and across Southern California, we have over 5,000 employees, so we’re rooted in the Los Angeles community.”
An invested community partner, Toyota’s participation this year will once again include providing vital safety information during the Taste of Soul. “In addition to sponsorship we want to continue our safety message. Last year, we had a program called “Buckle Up for Life,” where we did a demonstration on car safety seats and seat belts for children,” stated Green. “We want to expand that and we’re also going to include information about a program we have on teen driving, and also a program we have for adult driving that is a partnership with AARP.
We will have cars on display, we will have product specialists that will be able to speak with you about the features of the car and then we will have a car safety seat specialist that will do a demonstration to show parents the proper way to install a car seat and strap a child into a car seat.”
According to Green, providing car safety seat information is of particular importance to African American and Latino communities. “‘The Buckle Up for Life’ program started in 2004 in a partnership that we had with Cincinnati Children’s Hospital,” recalls Green. “They were doing some research with fatalities and children in the car and one of the things they found out that was so disheartening, was in African American and Hispanic vehicle accidents our statistics were higher. That information was the beginning of a need to figure out what this problem is and that was how the program was born. It’s really designed to educate families on the importance of keeping their children safe while driving.”
In addition to the child safety seat demonstrations, teens that stop by the Toyota booth will have the opportunity to visit a website with a video simulation that will show how easily you can be distracted while driving. “Because Taste of Soul is a family event, we thought that the safety message is so important. That’s why we expanded it this year,” insists Green. “We wanted to be more comprehensive about safety and cover everyone from children who aren’t driving yet but are passengers, to teens as they drive, then to adults as they drive.”
Providing the community with essential information to make certain they’re more informed citizens and consumers is as much a part of Taste of Soul as the food and music. In between bites, makes sure to stop by the Toyota booth to obtain some information that just may save a life.