Interlake student receives National Gold Scholarship Award for Safe Drive project

Ishika Binu is an incoming senior at Bellevue’s Interlake High School in the fall, and has been a member of Girl Scouts of Western Washington since the third grade. Through Girl Scouts, Binu achieved the National Gold Scholarship Award for her Safe Drive project.

“In 2018, my sister and I were in a car accident, along with our nanny at the time,” said Binu. “This car accident was near fatal as my sister was sent to Harborview Hospital in Seattle for multiple spinal fractures, and her spleen was bleeding.”

Because of the car accident, Binu decided to focus on safe driving for her Girl Scouts project in order to receive a Gold award, which is the highest award in Girl Scouts. To receive this award, the project must be sustainable, said Binu.

Binu created a driving safety awareness pledge, which provides information on safe driving and explains what Safe Drive does.

Binu said the pledge covers basic driving safety information, such as keeping one’s cell phone in the glove compartment to prevent temptations to use while driving. Additionally, videos relaying personal accounts from individuals who have experienced car collisions are part of the pledging process.

In November 2021, Binu officially opened the pledge, and has so far raised over 500 pledges through members of the community. Another part of the project was to implement ambulance services in areas that lack resources or are underprivileged.

“I became aware of this situation because my family, during COVID, went through — my dad’s dad, we lost him,” said Binu. “When he had a heart attack in India, he wasn’t able to go to the hospital right away because their ambulances take a while.”

Binu’s grandfather went to the hospital the day after his heart attack, but it took too long for him to receive the medical care he needed.

Courtesy of Ishika Binu.

Courtesy of Ishika Binu.

“I was able to implement ambulance services in a rural town in India, and I’m looking to do so in another place in Africa,” said Binu, who travelled to India to implement ambulance services in the Kerala village.

While developing her Safe Drive project, Binu found challenges due to heavy amounts of testing and coursework she was experiencing through the IB program at the time. Through the support of her friends and family, Binu was able to persevere, she said.

Some of her favorite parts about her project include connection with members of the community, such as the Washington Traffic Safety Committee. Binu also spoke with the 9-1-1 driving school where she received her driver’s education from, and informed them of the Safe Drive pledge.

“Right now, I’m working on getting incentives for more people to take the pledge, such as 9-1-1, which has offered a small discount from their services in the driving school,” said Binu.

For the time being, Binu will focus on expanding Safe Drive pledges through local high schools and communities. But she has big plans in the works.

“I’m working currently with a friend of mine to implement driving safety awareness day in Bellevue,” said Binu, who mentioned how she’s been in contact with Mayor Lynne Robinson to develop a proclamation for driving safety day this fall at a date to be confirmed.

While getting ready to finish her final year of high school, Binu is looking toward her future. She is interested in medicine, specifically neuroscience, and has been shadowing a doctor at a small health clinic in Seattle, she said.

In consideration of how we voice our opinions in the modern world, we’ve closed comments on our websites. We value the opinions of our readers and we encourage you to keep the conversation going.

Please feel free to share your story tips by emailing [email protected].

To share your opinion for publication, submit a letter through our website Include your name, address and daytime phone number. (We’ll only publish your name and hometown.) We reserve the right to edit letters, but if you keep yours to 300 words or less, we won’t ask you to shorten it.

Source: Bellevue Reporter