’Safety Town’ program educates kids about safety in variety of situations

"Safety Town" participants attend a graduation ceremony at Heritage Elementary school, June 8, 2018, St. George, Utah | Photo by Mikayla Shoup, St. George News

ST. GEORGE — The city of St. George this week held its annual “Safety Town” program to teach kids going into kindergarten and first grade about today’s safety issues.

Children boarding a bus to learn about bus safety at the “Safety Town” program at Heritage Elementary school, June 8, 2018, St. George, Utah | Photo by Mikayla Shoup, St. George News

Teen volunteers and other community volunteers taught the safety lessons by using a hands-on approach through stories, games, songs and videos.

There were 138 children at this year’s program, which was run by 17 youth volunteers and two staff members. This year marks the 35th anniversary of the program.

Safety Town took place at Heritage Elementary school twice per day. The first group attended from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m., and the second from noon to 2 p.m.

The program teaches kids lessons about pedestrian safety, internet safety, bus safety and fire safety, as well as “stranger danger,” prescription drugs and bullying.

The kids were introduced to community members such as firefighters, electricians, EMTs, lifeguards, a pharmacist and a police officer.

Jenny Fidler helped head the program this year for the first time and said she was excited by how eager these community members were to volunteer their time for the program.

Jenny Fidler teaches a group of “Safety Town” kids about bullies, June 8, 2018, St. George, Utah | Photo by Mikayla Shoup, St. George News

“It’s something the city’s super proud of. It’s been really cool to see the community involvement,” Fidler said.

Youth volunteers are responsible for keeping track of the children and helping teach them, said 12-year-old volunteer Taylee Stapley. Each of four groups went through four 20-minute rotations per day.

The Safety Town mascot, Eddie the Eagle, taught the children about what to do if they find a gun. A pharmacist from Stapley Pharmacy showed them how similar pills can look like candy and told them to never take medicine without adult supervision.

St. George police officer Travis Brown, or “Officer Friendly,” his Safety Town name, spent several days participating in the program. He talked to the kids about what police officers do, let them look at his car, taught about stranger danger and bullying.

Jenny Fidler thanks St. George police officer Travis Brown for working in the “Safety Town” program at Heritage Elementary school, June 8, 2018, St. George, Utah | Photo by Mikayla Shoup, St. George News

The last day of the program marked Brown’s last day as a police officer as he is retiring from the St. George Police Department after serving the city for 22 years. Brown has been a part of Safety Town for 12 years.

“This is probably one of the greatest programs put on for pre-kindergarten kids because it gives them such a great foundation on so many different topics relating to safety,” Brown said.

Parents were invited to attend a graduation ceremony on Friday. Officer Friendly, Eddie the Eagle and the “Mayor of Safety Town” – attorney Anthony McMullin – attended graduation. The kids wore paper graduation caps, which they decorated themselves, and recapped the week’s activities for their families.

Email: mshoup@stgnews.com

Twitter:  @STGnews | @MikaylaShoup

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2018, all rights reserved.

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