Baseball Bats and Students… May 2017

I have presented to many high schools since I began this public speaking quest – Fall 2016.  Ever since I started, I have been struggling to understand how the high schooler brain works.  Believe it or not, I was a high schooler at one time.  I was that young guy who sat in the back of the class and thought he was invincible – took way too much for granted.  Hindsight is 20/20…right?  There were actually several people who came and spoke to our school classes about the dangers of unsafe driving.

When I go to schools now, one of my first powerpoint slides is titles: “How do I get through to you guys?”  This is the slide where I walk through the crowd (carrying a baseball bat) and sincerely asking how to get the kids to understand that this is real?  I begin by showing the students a short 4 minute video which is on this website – the one in the video section at the bottom of the main page.  This is a heart wrenching video about a girl (who I know) that lost both of her parents as a result of a distracted driver on his cell phone.  Reactions before and after meeting this girl are priceless and really drives home the issue that people really don’t connect distracted driving to destroying lives.

I first ask the students if I need to scare them in order for them to understand.  I have plenty of bloody pics and videos of horrible car crashes that I could show if that would help them understand.  I next ask the kids if making them sad / on the verge of tears would help them understand that the dangers are real.  The students look at each other  – not knowing how to respond.  Then I pick up an aluminum baseball bat that I like taking to my presentations.  “Do I need to beat you all with this baseball bat?” “The administration would get very upset with me and I would probably be arrested and spend a long time in jail – but if it helps get this idea through to you all, I would be inclined to do this.” (I wouldn’t really do it)  But this exchange really emphasizes that importance of getting through to the kids.  Even if I speak for 45 minutes to the kids, it is not worth anything if I am not able to get through to them in some way shape or form.

If you have any additional ideas, please shoot me an email! I just finished school for the Spring semester – I have a lot of time this summer to improve me presentations!

– Ben

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College of DuPage Newspaper Article – Ben Pohl : Automotive Tech Student

There was a great article in the College of DuPage school newspaper today.  There were some difficulties getting ahold of the right people at the school but after that – everything went seamlessly…

The one thing that I saw missing from the article dealt with my current situation.  I had received my graduate degree from NIU several years ago and worked in the field.  Many people in society connect happiness with the level of education one has…..totally disagree.  Although I had this, I am currently going back to pursue a passion of mine to work on cars.  I will receive a certificate after my two year education and then take my certifications to become a automotive service technician.  I have so many opinions on happiness in life and how the achieve it…

Here is the link to the article:

Ben Pohl: car crash survivor, motivational speaker, automotive student

I love getting feedback 😉

– Ben

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ThinkFirst – High School Student Injury Prevention Awareness

1/1/2017: I started working with the ThinkFirst organization – speaking at local Chicagoland high school students.  Their website is:

Each year, an estimated 1.7 million persons in the United States sustain a brain injury, and thousands more sustain a spinal cord injury. In fact, injury is the leading cause of death among people between the ages of 1 and 44. Traumatic injuries are an epidemic.

Unlike most epidemics, this one is preventible now. You don’t have to wait for a cure. Most injuries can be prevented with safe engineering and safe actions.

The ThinkFirst National Injury Prevention Foundation’s educational programs are aimed at helping people – especially those at high risk: children, teens and young adults – learn to reduce their risk for injury. Compelling presentations explain how an injury can change a person’s life forever and how important it is to make safe choices. The message is simple: Use your mind to protect your body! Drive safely, buckle up, wear protective sports gear, avoid violence, don’t dive into shallow water and avoid falls. Think first!

The ThinkFirst Foundation provides onsite or online chapter training to hospitals and health-related facilities. ThinkFirst chapters provide our powerful, thought-provoking programs to students of all ages. “Street Smart,” the Safety Superhero, delights young children, while teens relate to our VIP speakers – Voices For Injury Prevention – who explain how a traumatic injury needlessly changed their life. Each year ThinkFirst chapters provide thousands of educational presentations to schools, businesses, organizations, conferences, and community events in order to raise awareness on preventing injuries.

ThinkFirst is your source for:

  • Theory-based, evidence-based injury prevention programs for all grade levels
  • Compelling educational presentations: use the ‘Chapters’ tab to find a ThinkFirst Chapter near you
  • Injury prevention facts
  • Educational materials and resources
  • ThinkFirst chapter training
  • Injury prevention involvement: speaker, volunteer and support opportunities


ThinkFirst’s mission is to prevent brain, spinal cord and other traumatic injuries through education, research and advocacy.

Check out their website for more information.

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Rotary Club of Elk Grove – CHALLENGE

CHALLENGE: As discussed today at the Elk Grove Rotary Club meeting today (1/5/2017) – since we think we are all great multi-taskers…but can we multi-task complexelk-grove activities? Try to read a book and answer the phone… the big one is to answer a Bluetooth call in your car and after hanging up, try to remember the last few miles…my bet is you can’t. I am curious how many of you think you can do it… 😉

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Potential Distracted Driving Presentations…UPDATES (3/7/2017)

UPDATE (3/7/2017)

Yes the ball is rolling – a bit quicker now 😉  I have spoken at over 20 Rotary Clubs and have another 12 scheduled in the coming months.  I am proud to say that I am scheduled to speak at Rotary ONE and Rotary Chicago – Financial District.  I have linked up with Think First where I speak at local high schools about the importance of good decision making as a high school student.  I have branched off and spoken for another large company, UPS, at their Driver Safety Conference and also begun to speak at Chambers of Commerce.

I am working now to raise funds to cover transportation costs as I am asked to drive further and further each time.  This is making my life interesting as I am currently a full time student and work 22 hours a week – flexibility is key.  I love speaking and the best part is hearing the feedback afterwards…knowing that thinking has changed.

Please let me know if you have any feedback, ideas, or organizations who should be contacted by me….be safe-

– Ben

UPDATE 10/13/2016 :

I am in contact with Illinois State Senator Tom Cullerton and State Representative Deb Conroy to speak about how we can improve awareness of the growing problem of distracted driving in our state.  I have also been speaking with the Mayor of Villa Park to get an ear in Springfield.  I am contacting local Rotary Clubs and working to contact Chambers of Commerce.

Speaking with students is one of my big initiatives – I am looking for contacts in public schools / driver’s education programs.   If you know someone in one of these areas – please email me at:

Businesses are also on my radar.  I speak to company employees as if they drive distracted and cause an accident, then the companies are liable for damages.  I present to employees and work in collaboration with their safety / training departments.

Any ideas on other organizations to contact?  Leave a comment or email me with the contact information of someone I should contact to help spread awareness of the dangers of distracted driving!

The ball is now rolling!!!

– Ben


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