WSVN — Every year, thousands of students travel abroad and say the experience is life-changing. But many young people are injured or lose their lives in tragedies that are preventable. One mom hopes to change that. 7’s Lynn Martinez has more in today’s Parent to Parent.

Sheryl had good reason to be proud of her son Tyler.

Sheryl Hill: “He was an a honor student, he played hockey, he loved football.”

She was thrilled when he was chosen to represent the United States on a student ambassador trip to Japan, but he never came home.

Sheryl Hill: “Tyler of course died on this journey to Japan. He was barely 16.”

Tyler got sick after a climb on Mt. Fuji. He tried to dial 911.

Sheryl Hill: “We’ve learned that number that we teach our children when they’re five is different in almost every country around the world. In Japan it’s 119.”

He died from dehydration before he could get help. After his death Sheryl found out thousands of students who study abroad are not properly prepared, so she started a non-profit organization called the Clear Cause Foundation.

Sheryl Hill: “We’re really on a mission right now to give our kids the world, and make sure they come back better, not broken every single time.”

Instead of warning students not to travel, Sheryl got together with travel experts to create a website to educate families.

Sheryl Hill: “We have a checklist with more than 50 touchpoints to help parents and students get ready to go abroad.”

The website has a link to their app called SOS or “Save Our Students.” The app turns a student’s cell phone into a powerful security device. With a touch of a button, the student can report threats to their safety without an onlooker or attacker being aware.

Sheryl Hill: “Then within three seconds, it’s going to prompt me with a three digit emergency number in the country that I’m currently in.”

There’s also a GPS feature the student can activate, which allows parents to track them and know exactly where they are at all times.

Lynn Martin: “I didn’t realize the implications of students traveling abroad.”

Lynn Martin’s daughter Jessica, is getting ready to study in Europe next year. She was surprised at what she learned on Sheryl’s site.

Lynn Martin: “Now that I’ve done some research on it, I’m a little apprehensive.”

Sheryl said it’s normal for parents to worry, but smart to make sure their child has all the tools for safe travels.

Lynn Martinez: Sheryl said parents need to be ready too. Make sure your passport is up to date in case you need to travel at the last minute.


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