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Latest youth initiative from Mercedes-Benz

By Xu Xiao  (China Daily)

16:29, June 17, 2013

Children from Hope primary schools enjoy a day at the new Mercedes-Benz Road Safety Experience Center. [Photo/Provided to China Daily]

To aid in the advancement of Chinese youth, Mercedes-Benz is again cooperating with the China Youth Development Foundation on a new program that kicked off on May 31.

The new initiative invites students from Hope primary schools to participate in activities relating to road safety, music, sports and the arts.

It is part of the automaker's Star Foundation, which it co-founded with the China Youth Development Foundation in 2010. Its efforts focus on environmental protection, education, the arts, sports, social care and driving culture.

With an initial investment of 30 million yuan ($4.9 million), the Star Foundation is currently the automaker's largest foundation across the globe to aid the public.

The latest effort "is committed to nurturing the world of tomorrow", said Li Hongpeng, deputy executive president of Beijing Mercedes-Benz Sales Service Co and head of the Star Foundation. "We are concerned with young people because they are the future and hope of the nation.

"We will mobilize more resources from our car owners, dealers and staff, as well as the media and other parts of society, to promote awareness among the youth about safety, responsibility, environmental protection, trust and compassion," he added.

An important part of the plan is the new Mercedes-Benz Children Road Safety Experience Center that opened in Shanghai's EDay Town, also on May 31.

Following the first of its kind in Beijing, the center teaches road safety awareness to children by using toys and games.

A cartoon truck the size of a real one draws the attention of many visitors due to its fancy styling.

But it is not just a large toy. It is a teaching tool to show children how to keep away from trucks on road.

As well, it has mini pedestrian crosswalks, traffic lights and signs that imitate real road situations.

Beyond the experience centers, the Mercedes-Benz children road safety program has spread to nearly 30 primary schools in Beijing, Shanghai and Suzhou through textbooks made by international experts.

In the next two years, the books will be used by another 170 primary schools in Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Chengdu, enough for more than 70,000 students.

Tu Meng, secretary-general of the China Youth Development Foundation, lauded Mercedes-Benz's efforts.

"The Star Foundation public benefit projects including the road safety program and music classrooms are very international and practical," he said.

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