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by Haberman & Associates Thursday, Feb. 22, 2007 at 12:03 PM

Robina Suwol recognized in 5th Annual Volvo for life Awards, honored for her fight to prevent harmful chemicals being used on school grounds


Celebrity Judges to Unveil Top Three Heroes, April 5, in the heart of New York City; Grand Award Winner Will Receive a Volvo Car for Life

IRVINE, Calif. (Feb. 20, 2007) - Don't think about calling Robina Suwol an overprotective mother. Because of what started out as a concern for the health of her children, Suwol has helped protect millions of kids from harmful pesticides and toxins. After seeing her own children walk through a cloud of pesticides outside their school door, Suwol founded California Safe Schools to protect students from dangerous toxic substances. Suwol's incredible dedication to safeguarding children prompted the American public to name her a finalist in the 5th Annual Volvo for life Awards. As one of nine top heroes selected, Suwol will receive $25,000 for her cause, and now has a chance to win an additional $25,000 and a car for life.

The Volvo for life Awards
( is the largest-
ever national search for and celebration of everyday heroes in the categories of Safety, Quality of Life and Environment, with Volvo Cars of North America providing $1 million in awards and contributions in honor of heroes. For the past six months the American public has been voting to decide the country's nine favorite hometown heroes in the Fifth Anniversary Volvo for life Awards. The program, launched in August 2006, called for individuals nationwide to visit and vote for their favorite unsung hometown hero. Volvo received 676,903 votes from across the country.

A distinguished panel of celebrity judges who are experts on care, conscience and character - Hank Aaron, Sen. Bill Bradley, Caroline Kennedy, Maya Lin, Val Kilmer, Paul Newman, Dr. Sally Ride, Eunice Kennedy Shriver and previous Volvo for life Awards grand winners - will now review Suwol and the eight other finalists' nominations to select the program's top three winners in the categories of Safety, Quality of Life and Environment. Suwol is a finalist in the Environment category.

Volvo will fly the three category winners to New York to be honored at the 42nd St. Cipriani during the Volvo for life Awards ceremony on April 5, 2007. At the event, Volvo and program judges will present a short film documenting each winner and present him and/or her with a $50,000 contribution to the charity of his or her choice. In addition, they will announce the program's grand winner, who will receive a new Volvo car every three years for the rest of his or her life and will be named "America's Greatest Hometown Hero." The remaining six finalists will each receive a donation of $25,000 to the charities of their choice.

Suwol's Story

After watching her sons walk into school through a toxic cloud of pesticides, Suwol founded California Safe Schools to protect children from harmful chemicals used on school property. Her mobilization of parents, physicians, environmentalists, school staff and management, community members and the county health department resulted in an Integrated Pest Management Policy (IPM). The policy serves to reduce or eliminate the school district's use of dangerous pesticides in favor of mechanical, biological or low-toxicity products. Today, the IPM policy that Suwol helped bring about serves as a national model. Suwol has also testified before government and public hearings countless times urging protection for children in school settings, making her one of the most effective voices in the nation concerning current school-related Environmental Protection Agency regulations.

Suwol recently lead the way for a new law to protect California children from exposure to "experimental" toxins that would be otherwise legal. The California law, Assembly Bill 405, now protects more than 6 million students and hundreds of thousands of teachers and school employees from experimental pesticides whose health effects are unknown. Because childhood diagnosis of asthma, cancer, neurological disorders and diabetes have increased, her work today is more critical than ever.

"Volvo is synonymous with safety, which is what my life's work is all about," Suwol said. "I can think of nothing better than to drive the car that exemplifies being proactive and responsible. Funds received from Volvo will continue our work to protect the health of children. Last year we sponsored a bill that protected 6 million children and hundreds of thousands of teachers and school employees in California from exposure to toxic substances. We hope to expand that work on a national level. Children can't vote and depend on adults to protect them. That's what we will continue to do."

Further details of Suwol's story can be viewed at The other finalists in the Fifth Anniversary Volvo for Life Awards are:

The Fifth Anniversary Volvo for life Awards will be hosted by actor Benjamin Bratt and will feature musical performances by various
artists. Visit for more information on the Volvo for life Awards and to view hundreds of hero stories, including this year's finalists.

Contact: Peggy Bell, Haberman & Associates, 612-372-6463,

Sören Johansson, Volvo Cars of North America, 949-341-6719,

Media: For photos and more information on the Volvo for Life Awards:

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