Chaffin Luhana Foundation & Najee Harris Recognize Outstanding Student with 2022 Anti-Distracted Driving Scholarship

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The Chaffin Luhana Foundation, in partnership with Pittsburgh Steelers Running Back Najee Harris and his Da’ Bigger Picture Foundation, has awarded a $2,500 scholarship to Morgan Zagorski, an undergraduate at the Indiana University of Pennsylvania, for her effort to increase awareness of the dangers of distracted driving.

In an effort to drive down the staggering number of distracted driving accidents in the U.S., the Chaffin Luhana Foundation, Najee Harris, and his Da’ Bigger Picture Foundation have awarded their 2022 Anti-Distracted Driving Scholarship to one deserving student.

Both foundations are non-profit organizations that encourage the development of human potential and support community empowerment. This year, they have awarded a $2,500 scholarship to Morgan Zagorski, an undergraduate student at Indiana University of Pennsylvania, for her efforts to increase awareness of the dangers of distracted driving.

According to the most recent statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), distracted driving claimed 3,142 lives in 2020. An estimated additional 324,652 people were injured in motor vehicle crashes involving distracted drivers.

Young adult and teen drivers remain the most at risk. A recent study from Autoinsurance.com revealed that more than 12 million teens are hitting the road, with 45 percent admitting to texting while driving. The AAA found in another study that driver distraction was responsible for more than 58 percent of teen crashes.

“Through my partnership with Chaffin Luhana, we are raising awareness of the dangers of distracted driving in the Pittsburgh area. Together, with our community, we have the power to help young people make the right decisions to keep themselves, and others safe,” says Harris.

For the essay contest, students had the option to write about a personal experience with distracted driving or to describe a realistic distracted driving awareness campaign that would reduce fatalities caused by distracted driving. As a third option, they could write about how technology and recent technological advancements have impacted the rise of distracted driving on our nation's highways.

This year’s winner shared a personal experience with distracted driving. She explained in her essay that her uncle was walking home from dinner alone in 2012 when “a young girl hit him with her car as a result of distracted driving.”

The girl and her friend were racing down a busy road when they hit the writer’s uncle, throwing him 12 feet through the air. He was taken to the hospital, but he suffered from such extreme brain damage that he had to be put on life support. A few days later, his family had to make the difficult decision to withdraw that support. He passed away soon after, leaving behind a wife and three kids.

“I saw the impact of this destruction first hand,” Zagorski wrote, “and had to experience this loss with my family. Now that I am aware of the consequences of distracted driving, I make sure that I am a responsible driver so that no other family has to endure the pain of losing a loved one due to the mistakes of others.”

Chaffin Luhana has offered this scholarship for several years running, awarding one student each year with money to help them attend the college of their choice.

“Ms. Zagorsky’s essay reveals the tragic reality that many families face across our nation every day,” said Roopal Luhana, Partner at Chaffin Luhana. “Her willingness to share this experience and how it impacted her reveals a refreshing conscientiousness that we hope to encourage in other teen drivers across the country. Our hearts go out to her and her family.”

The firm has long believed in giving back to the community through charitable contributions, advancing scientific research, working to combat distracted driving, and providing scholarships to encourage students who are making a difference.

“Our aim is to raise awareness of distracted driving by giving students the opportunity to share their own experiences in a creative outlet,” said Eric Chaffin, Managing Partner of Chaffin Luhana. “And the response has been tremendous – each year we receive so many essays, most of which share first-hand experiences with distracted driving, along with lessons learned.”

About The Chaffin Luhana Foundation:
Law partners Eric Chaffin and Roopal Luhana, along with their families, established The Chaffin Luhana Foundation in 2010 to honor their humble roots and build upon the values of integrity and resilience instilled in them by their hardworking parents.

A not-for-profit organization, the Foundation encourages the development of human potential and supports community empowerment through the endowment of funds to deserving recipients, the creation of community-based enrichment projects, and the support of important scientific research that meaningfully impacts the underprivileged and sick in society.

With the goal of fostering acceptance, understanding, and an inclusive and healthy environment for everyone, the Foundation seeks to highlight individuals who are displaying outstanding characteristics in their lives, and bring all walks of life together in ways that invite positive interaction, while rewarding those resilient people willing to face difficult challenges, get back up, and surge forth once again. For more information, please visit ChaffinLuhanaFoundation.org.

About Da’ Bigger Picture Foundation:
Da’ Bigger Picture Foundation was founded by Najee Harris with the mission to help families experiencing homelessness and to assist low-income families achieve sustainable independence through a community-based response. Some of the key areas of focus are education, homelessness, addressing hunger and utilizing sports as a platform to develop life skills, as well as to advocate for public policies that alleviate poverty and promote the economic stability of low-income families. For more information, please visit Najee.net/pages/da-bigger-picture-foundation.

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Dan Reo