2021 Scholarship Winner

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Finz & Finz, P.C. is proud to announce Riley Go as the $1,000 first-place winner of our 2021 Annual Scholarship Competition. This year’s competition was about the importance of avoiding distractions while driving. Go, who attends both California Preparatory Academy and Saddleback College in Orange County, California, impressed us with the action she has taken in her community to address the distracted driving epidemic.

Our selection committee determined the winner after judging the video submissions created and edited by the applicants that addressed the question:

“How can we, as a society, change the behavior of those who text and drive to create a safer environment for the traveling public?”

Studies indicate that texting while driving is just as dangerous as driving while drunk or under the influence of drugs. The chance of being involved in a car crash is 20 times greater when the driver is texting. New York and other states have enacted laws intended to prevent car accidents caused by distracted driving. However, these laws can only do so much. It is up to everyday people to change their behavior to reduce this epidemic.

Riley Go – 2021 Scholarship Winner

Go told us in her video submission that in 2020 she noticed how people were afraid during the pandemic, anxious about the endangerment of Black and Asian lives, experiencing job loss, and feeling isolated from friends. And when she received her driver’s permit, she had a renewed sense of purpose and freedom. Go wanted to share that sense of purpose with her peers, so she founded Drive2Mercy last July.

Drive2Mercy is an inclusive teen driving organization to encourage students to get to informally mentor each other, discuss how to pass the driving test, and share humorous first-time driving experiences.

“The bulk of our discussion is about driving safely,” Go said in her video. “Students talk about driving distracted, driving while sleepy, driving in the rain, driving at night, and being in the car while another car is driving way too close.”

The organization establishes peer support and accountability, including turning down the “do not disturb” feature on the phone before driving and avoiding texting or answering calls.

“We also volunteer to use our driving skills to bring donations to Mercy Warehouse, a local nonprofit that provides food to families through the sales of donated goods,” Go said.

Within a matter of months, Drive2Mercy grew to include student members from across nine high schools in Orange County, California. Go said she believes it helps to have Drive2Mercy in all high schools so that students can have a collaborative program to connect, share, ask questions, and keep each other accountable in person, on Zoom, and on social media.

“Because when you and your friends set a goal to drive safely, then you’re able to collectively make a commitment to not text and drive,” Go said.

In addition to being an outstanding student with a 4.0 GPA, Go is a successful TV actress. In 2015, she booked her first role when she auditioned for the Nickelodeon show Bella and the Bulldogs. Over the last six years, Go has continued to pursue her acting dreams, landing roles in Good Trouble, Punky Brewster, The Big Bang Theory, Better Things, Game Shakers, Teachers, Scorpion, and 2 Broke Girls. Go has been a member of the Screen Actors Guild/American Federation of Television and Radio Artists since 2015.

Go also does voiceover work. She voices Cinderella’s pet Bibbidy in the Disney program Whisker Haven Tales with the Palace Pets. She also voiced Bitsy Beagleberg in an episode of Mickey and the Roadster Racers.

In her spare time, Go enjoys reading, dancing, spending time with her little sister, hanging out with friends, singing, and songwriting. She plays the ukulele, piano, cello, and guitar. In fact, Go has registered multiple songwriting copyrights with the U.S. Copyright Office. She also enjoys writing screenplays and developing characters and thematic ideas.

For more information on Go’s organization Drive2Mercy, visit the website https://drive2mercy.com.