1 in 5. I repeat… 1 in 5.
This is getting out of hand. These aren’t just statistics. These are real tragedies that destroy real families all because people had their priorities really backward.
On April 9, 2016, Texas lost a very young and special soul to distracted driving. Patterson Law Group, in partnership with Heather and Janae Cook, has founded a bi-annual scholarship in her honor.
The silver lining to this horrible trend of accident fatalities is that distracted driving accidents are completely preventable. With increased education, awareness, and enforcement, we can reduce distracted driving accidents together. While the statistics are troubling, we are confident that people not only care about this issue but have ideas to help. The Text Free For Tita Scholarship was founded not only to honor Tita, but to help ensure accidents like Tita’s no longer continue to occur. The winner of our bi-annual scholarship will be awarded $1,000 for their contribution to the campaign.
About Emma “Tita” Lourdes Shaffer
If you asked James Shaffer about his daughter Tita, he would lovingly refer to her as one of God’s most precious gifts. In 2016, Tita was a 6th grader at Liberty Christian with a bright future ahead of her. Tita was always willing to be an honest friend to complete strangers and would actively stand up for anyone in her life. In her free time, she volunteered with the “Someone Please Help Me” program and engaged in competitive cheer at Champion Cheer in Southlake, Texas. She loved both cheer and her team and had been involved in the sport since 2009. Champion Cheer was like a second home for Tita who considered her team to be family. There wasn’t a single person who knew Tita that didn’t have something wonderful to say about her.
Many would argue that Tita followed in her mother’s footsteps. Emma Lourdes Shaffer was a dedicated mom and adored wife. She always went above and beyond for Tita. She would consistently volunteer at Liberty Christian and was a proud cheer mom who was very involved at Champion Cheer. Like Tita, Emma is remembered for always being willing to go out of her way to help anyone that needed help.
On April 9, 2016, Emma and Tita were driving home from dinner when their car was struck head on in a collision. The other driver was also a mother with her daughter in the car who was texting a friend while driving southbound on Highway 377. The car veered off into the northbound lane where both mothers and daughters were killed on impact. Tita was only 12 at the time of her death. The text sent that cost four lives that day was, “I’ll see you at the skate park.”
One of Tita’s best friends, Janae Cook, was devastated by the news of Tita’s passing. Tita and Janae cheered on the same team and spent countless hours together. Janae has worked with her mother, Heather, to channel her emotions of sadness and frustration into positive change. Janae founded a campaign, “Text Free For Tita” to raise awareness of the dangers of distracted driving. Janae’s message has spread farther than she could have ever imagined, even touching people across the globe. She lives by the slogan, “No text is worth a life. It can wait,” and urges others to do the same.
The annual scholarship in Tita’s name is an opportunity to give back to the community both Tita and Emma loved while continuing to spread the message of the dangers of distracted driving.
#TextFreeForTita Distracted Driving Scholarship Overview
Patterson Law Group is looking for students to use their creativity to create & share ways to reduce the number of accidents due to distracted driving in Texas. Submissions can be in the following forms:
- Video or other multimedia
- Written (like a poem)
- Photo or Graphic (including a viral Facebook post or mock-up of a billboard)
Then post your submission on Facebook or Instagram with the hashtags #TextFreeForTita and #scholarship (must be public) and tag @pattersonlawgroup.
We encourage applicants to get creative! We are excited to provide this opportunity to students and look forward to reviewing the campaign proposals.
A few notes:
- Photos must NOT depict gruesome and/or identifiable car crashes.
- Photos must NOT show branding of any automakers.
- Photos must NOT be taken inside vehicles (whether you’re driving or not).
- Multiple entries accepted.
- Posts/entries must be publicly viewable using the hashtags #TextFreeForTita and #scholarship and @pattersonlawgroup must be tagged.
Eligibility & Requirements
In addition to the social media post, applicants MUST email this completed application by May 31 for the Spring Semester Winner and December 15 for the Fall Semester Winner. Email firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions.
- The scholarship is to be used only for university or law school tuition and related educational expenses.
- A check for $1,000 will be issued directly to the recipient’s school to cover these expenses.
- The winner will be notified 30 days after the submission deadline.
- By submitting a scholarship application, the applicant agrees to allow Patterson Law Group to use the content of the submission, the applicant’s name, the name of the university or law school, and/or picture(s) of any of the above on the firm’s websites and other marketing materials.
Patterson Law Group encourages applicants to be very careful when creating their submissions and expressly disclaims any responsibility for injury. Be smart.