PARKERSBURG - Learning about safety now will protect many children for years to come.
The Parkersburg Safetytown kicked off this week at Fairplains Elementary School with around 100 children who will be heading into the first-grade this fall in the Wood County Schools.
The free two-week program is an excellent introduction in safety skills for children, said Mary Ann Osborne, Parkersburg Safetytown director.
Photo by Brett Dunlap
Colleen Hoselton poses for a Kidprint ID photo as Dennie Huggins, Wood County Sheriff’s Office chief tax deputy, and April Burdette enter information and operate the camera during the Parkersburg Safetytown program at Fairplains Elementary School Tuesday.
"Everyone has a lot of fun," she said.
The day is divided in separate morning and afternoon sessions for parents to take advantage if their kids are involved in other things this summer. The same information is covered during both 2.5-hour sessions.
The children are taught safety measures in dealing with fire, being a pedestrian, riding in a motor vehicle and water safety. Local lawmen talk to the kids about what to do in dealing with strangers. Speakers also talk to the children about Internet safety, bus safety, toy safety, bike safety and identifying and avoiding poisonous objects.
The Parkersburg Safetytown kicked off this week at Fairplains Elementary School in Parkersburg with around 100 children who will be heading into the first-grade this fall in the Wood County Schools.
The children are taught a variety of safety measures, including dealing with fire, being a pedestrian, riding in a motor vehicle and water safety. Local law enforcement officers talk to the kids about what to do in dealing with strangers. Speakers also talked to the children about Internet safety, bus safety, toy safety, bike safety and identifying and avoiding poisonous objects.
Organizers said the lessons learned through Safetytown will stick with the children for the rest of their lives.
Organizations, such as the Camden Clark Medical Center, the Parkersburg Boys and Girls Club, the Arc of the Mid-Ohio Valley, the Parkersburg Fire Department, the Parkersburg Police Department, Wood County Schools and others, have people helping to teach the children important safety tips.
New this year, the Wood County Sheriff's Department did its Kidprint ID program where they create identification cards for the kids' parents with all a child's important information on it.
A number of volunteers from the area high schools and middle schools are helping throughout both weeks.
"Our community is well represented," Osborne said. "We are very blessed to have the community support we do to keep this program going for the children."
The students rotate through five centers each day, which include a snack, film, art, classroom, guest speaker and an opportunity to visit the miniature Parkersburg Safetytown city for motorist and pedestrian safety on the playground at Fairplains Elementary School.
The program has the capacity to handle 200 children. There were around 15 who signed up for the program this year who did not show up.
Today is the last day people can register for the remainder of the two-week program.
"We can still enroll children (today), but this would be the last day we can enroll them," Osborne said. "There is still room in the morning and afternoon sessions."
Each day the kids get information they can take home and discuss with their parents.
Every year, the kids learn valuable tips to keep themselves and others safe, Osborne said.
"Safety ideas for children do not become concrete until the age of nine," she said. "A lot of the safety skills are ongoing through life.
"Even as adults we need to be reminded every once in a while."
Many parents get those reminders regularly from kids who go through the program.
"A lot of the children go home and remind their parents about stopping the car before they get to the crosswalk so people can cross the street and having their seat belts on before the car starts moving," Osborne said. "It is ongoing and children need refreshers.
"We are always looking at safety skills to better protect the children. The parents have been very responsive about how pleased they are with what the program is providing."
Many of the kids were excited about starting to ride tricycles today on the miniature Parkersburg Safetytown city grid.
Funding for the program comes from donations, grants and sponsorships.
Tera Hoselton had gone through the program as a child, has volunteered over the years as a student, joined the program's board of directors after graduating from college and is now the board president.
Hoselton said the lessons learned through Safetytown will stick with the children for the rest of their lives.