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West New York, New Jersey,
29
March
2017

One Precious Life Lost Will Save Many

East Coast Family on a Mission to Promote Safe Driving for All

The Rebeka Verea Foundation is working to create safe drivers, and safe roads. The foundation is passionate about teen driver safety. June 20, 2005

 Excitement filled the home of Lourdes Verea and Dr. Jorge Verea. Their  daughter Rebeka just graduated high school, so the family celebrated with a  small gathering at their New Jersey house. That evening, Rebeka and her  buddy took a break from the celebration. Like any other night, they hopped in  the car to  pick up a friend. Little did the Verea’s know, it was the last time they would see their daughter alive.

 The Clock Struck Midnight

 The Verea’s heard a knock at their front door. It came from two police officers  who delivered the devastating news no parent wants to hear. "The driver was  speeding through a 35 mph zone with Rebeka in his passenger seat,” said    Lourdes. “His car slammed into  a turning tractor- trailer. The roof of the car was  sheared off, killing Rebeka  instantly.”

 A Time to Remember

 Thousands attended Rebeka’s wake. Seeing so many people who cared for  their daughter gave the family hope. The Verea’s realized  Rebeka’s life had impacted so many people, and they knew…they must keep sharing her story.

 Days after the service, the family formed the Rebeka Verea Foundation.

 
“We aim to educate teenagers on the dangers of reckless driving,” said Lourdes. “Our slogan is, Say Yes to Life.”

12 Years Later

Lourdes Verea and her husband Dr. Jorge Verea are working to raise awareness for teen driver safety through the Rebeka Verea FoundationThe Verea’s are still brought to tears when speaking about Rebeka, but they’re determined to remain positive, to celebrate her life and to appreciate the countless ways their daughter touched the lives of others. 

Every spring, with the support of State Farm, the Rebeka Verea Foundation hosts two educational symposiums in New Jersey – one for educators and one for students. The symposiums feature diverse speakers such as trauma surgeons, car crash victims and police officers.

Each speaker shares their wisdom and experiences with nearly 1,000 students and 500 educators.

Their mission? To educate.

Their goal? To prevent tragedy and promote safe driving.

While the topics are serious, the Foundation also allows time for a light-hearted celebration. The symposium, held in April (the month of Rebeka’s birthday), is a tribute to her life. The students dance, wave glow-sticks, and sing Happy Birthday to Rebeka.

The Work Continues

To keep raising safe driving awareness, a permanent speed machine is stationed at the crash site. A street near the local high school has been named Rebeka Verea Way and Rebeka’s photo and the Foundation logo is displayed on a city police car.Safe driving reminders can be found around West New York, New Jersey - including a city police car and street signage.Additionally, the Foundation’s annual gala collects money to support Project Graduation in high schools throughout two counties. The event, held on graduation night, is an alcohol and drug free celebration.

“The Foundation is an integral part of our daily lives,” says Lourdes. “Sadly, my daughter died, but we’re working hard to prevent others from experiencing a similar tragedy. We’re always celebrating my daughter’s life. I feel the Foundation is far-reaching and will live on beyond our lifetime.”Rebeka Verea Way is a reminder to drive safe, to prevent distracted driving and create a safer community.