Empowering kids against dangers they knowChild safety is the focus of a community event March 27 at the Superior Public Library.
By: Maria Lockwood, Superior Telegram
Child safety is the focus of a community event March 27 at the Superior Public Library.
The free “Safety Awareness for our Kids” workshop runs 2-4 p.m. for children ages 3-11 and their parents or guardians.
This is not a “stranger danger” event, since most children are assaulted or injured by people they know, said Bonnie Beste, Superior community policing officer.
“It is about empowering kids,” Beste said.
Children will focus on the difference between feeling safe and unsafe, and brainstorm a list of trusted adults to go to for help.
“It is about helping kids to recognize when they’re not in a safe situation and helping them to become empowered to speak out about that and tell somebody,” said Alexa Connolly, child program coordinator for the Center Against Sexual and Domestic Abuse. “And if that person doesn’t listen to them, tell another person and if that person doesn’t listen to keep telling until somebody listens and steps in to help them.”
Members of Superior’s Citizen Watch group will lend a hand to provide free ID kits for children. A skating party takes place following the event at the World of Wheels Skate Center. Participants receive a pass for free skating, with skates available to rent for $1 each. Pizza also is provided.
The child safety workshop was originally slated for April 1, but the School District of Superior will be holding classes that day to make up for snow day cancellations earlier in the year. So it has been rescheduled for March 27 during the district’s spring break.
The workshop grew from the determination of Mike Almond, a father of four. The Superior man approached Beste and children’s librarian Nora Fie to ask for this kind of training.
“We got to teach our kids and we got to make sure that they’re safe,” Almond said. “Nothing comes before that for me.”
While they may get lessons on safety in other venues, the workshop provides two concentrated hours of safety training.
“It’s just a component of being a kid,” Beste said. “You can tell them and tell them, maybe the 10th time it will make a difference. We need to keep talking to our kids, telling them these things not to scare them but to help them learn to trust themselves.”
Having trusted adults to turn to is another key. Kids may think places like the library are safe spots, Fie said. That’s not the case, because it’s open to everyone.
“They need to have their guard up in places that they think are traditionally safe,” she said.
Technology has also brought new dangers for kids, Connolly said, and busy parents often don’t have the time to monitor their children’s usage. So it’s important to talk about the dangers that are out there, she said. She also encouraged all parents to look up Wisconsin sex offenders at http://offender.doc.state.wi.us/public, to check who their neighbors are.
Local businesses and organizations have stepped up to support the training, and donations are still being accepted.
“This is beyond what I wanted to do, but it’s a great thing,” said Almond, whose determination to hold this event led to him becoming a Citizen Watch captain. “Putting Nora and Bonnie in place and then letting them roll with their contacts has made it even better.”
To register for the event, call 715-394-8866 or email email@example.com. Children must be accompanied by a parent or guardian.