Rookies "Ride, Respect & Relax"

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During the NFL season, many young people take the metro and light rail to M&T Bank Stadium to watch the Ravens. Now, thanks to an agreement with the Ravens and Maryland Transit Authority (MTA), they're going to get more than just a ride to the game.

As an incentive for Baltimore youth to join the "Ride, Respect and Relax Program," the MTA will distribute 100 Ultimate Ravens Rookies memberships to boys and girls who sign the pledge form saying they will be respectful riders on Maryland public transportation.

There are over 30,000 students who ride the metro, bus, or light rail in Baltimore City every day. And while most of them are outstanding students, there have still been a few incidents necessitating the need to reinforce good behavior. The "Ride, Respect and Relax" Program was created to give incentive to children to do what they're supposed to do while riding on public transportation in the city.

"It's a pretty cool deal just to get kids to behave and promote the program," said Ravens Corporate Sales Account Executive Keith Weldon, who helped create the agreement.

"We care about our community," said Jawauna Greene, Director of Marketing and Communications for the MTA. The MTA interacts with the public on a daily basis, and Greene saw fit to give children rewards for good behavior. They did some pilot testing and fully launched the program this past spring. Other Baltimore businesses, such as Cold Stone Creamery, Downtown Locker Room and Dunkin' Donuts are also involved in the "Ride, Respect and Relax Program," by giving discounts to children who take the pledge.

The Ravens, though, were among the first to reach out to the MTA to get involved. Greene acknowledged that the MTA loved what the team symbolized, encouraging kids to be active, care about sports, and to take care of one another.

The Ravens have also established a presence on transit via signage and billboards, and there have been partnerships with local radio stations to promote the program. Certain events with young kids involved have been targeted for marketing, and so far close to 2,000 kids have taken the pledge. The Ultimate Ravens Rookies memberships will be distributed to student leaders in the community, both recent signees and those who took the pledge when it was created.

Greene emphasized the many ways people can incorporate the MTA into their daily commute, and save up to $600 a month in the process. She also pointed out how it helps the environment, which coincides with some other environmental initiatives the Ravens are undertaking this season.

"After all, light rail and metro are the original electric cars."

You can become a member of the Ultimate Ravens Rookies for just $25. Check out Ravens Rookies section on BR.com for more information. You can also go to www.mtamaryland.com or call (866) RIDE-MTA for information on the MTA or details on the "Ride, Respect and Relax" Program.

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