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Red Cross to offer Safety City

| July 24, 2014

COSHOCTON – If you have a child entering kindergarten this fall, you’ll want to be sure to have them attend Safety City.

“One of the goals of the American Red Cross is community disaster education,” said Rachel Benedetti, an AmeriCorps Volunteer who runs Safety City for the Red Cross. “We want to treat and alleviate the suffering caused by disasters, but we also want to prevent them from happing by focusing on education in the community.”

Safety City will be held Monday through Friday, Aug. 4-8 at the Coshocton County Fairgrounds and parents can choose between a 10 to 11:30 a.m. or 6 to 7:30 p.m. session.

Children who attend Safety City will learn about: Traffic laws and pedestrian safety; stranger danger; gun safety; fire safety; school bus safety; animal safety; how to call 911 and more.

“We teach them about things like when to call 911 and why,” Benedetti said. “If they see a fire and don’t know to call 911 or how, that’s not good.”

The program also educates children on the dangers of poisons, gun safety, hazardous weather situations and how to be safe on the bus. Special guests from places like the sheriff’s office and fire station also stop by to help educate the children.

“They loved Dingo the dog from the sheriff’s office and the fire department visit,” Benedetti said.

Angie Moses has been involved with the Red Cross for years and volunteers her time to help Benedetti with Safety City.

“I go back to the early 80s with Safety City,” she said. “The Red Cross is dear to my heart because who got me involved in it (Pat Tucker) is no longer with us and she meant a lot to me.”

Moses volunteered with the Red Cross in junior high and high school and got involved with the organization again about five years ago.

“I have a teaching degree and like to see kids learn,” she said. “It’s also nice when you see them a year or two later and they remember you from Safety City. That means a lot because you know you made an impression and helped them learn something.”

Children who attend Safety City get a book bag, t-shirt, crayons and coloring books, snacks everyday and miscellaneous items like stickers.

“This year we also have new Safety City buildings to mock Coshocton,” Benedetti said. “There are ones that look similar to the fire station and sheriff’s office and we also have a little house and school to use for pedestrian and bike safety.”

The final day of Safety City also includes a graduation ceremony that parents get to attend and watch their children receive certificates of completion.

“The sheriff hands them to the children,” Benedetti said. “They also get a McDonald’s ice cream coupon and I mail out individual pictures of the children doing activities like getting on and off the bus or riding their tricycle. Parents love them.”

Registration fee for the program is $10 and sign up can be completed by visiting the Coshocton American Red Cross Chapter House at 245 N. Fourth St. or calling 622-0228. Deadline is Monday, July 28. Teens who are interested in volunteering at Safety City also are encouraged to call the Red Cross.

“It’s a great way for your child to meet other children who are going into kindergarten,” Benedetti said. “We also enforce what we teach in tangible ways. When a parent talks to their child about fire safety they will listen and then run off and play, but here when the firefighter stands in front of them he has the floor and they listen and pay attention. Plus they also get to practice crawling through smoke and see the fire truck. You also can tell a child to stay 10 feet back from a school bus, but at Safety City they get to physically practice with the bus driver getting on and off. This type of teaching works really well with younger kids.”

Benedetti also said you can’t beat the price.

“It’s only $10 and mom gets a hour and a half break to go shopping or run errands while her child gets a snack, plays and learns valuable lessons.”

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About the Author ()

I started my journalism career in 2002 with a daily newspaper chain. After various stops with them, I am happy to be back home! I graduated from Coshocton High School in 1998 and received a Bachelor of Arts in Communication in 2002 from Walsh University. I also earned several awards while working for daily papers, including being honored by Coshocton County’s veterans for the stories I wrote about them. I am honored and ready to once again shine a positive light on Coshocton County. I also am the proud mother of a little girl named Sophia!

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