PARKERSBURG - For the 29th year, the Parkersburg Safetytown program will help protect children and teach them valuable safety skills to be used the rest of their lives.
"We've been at this a while," said Mary Ann Osborne, Parkersburg Safetytown director. "Most children do not have concrete ideas about safety until the age of 9, so we are there to give them a foundation of safety skills to build from."
The free two-week program was designed to introduce incoming first grade-age children to life safety skills, which include pedestrian and motor safety, police as our friend, strangers, bus safety, water safety, bicycle and helmet safety, poisons, fire, Internet safety and pet safety.
A group of Parkersburg Safetytown students gathers around a Parkersburg fire engine as a firefighter speaks during the 2012 program at Fairplains Elementary School. This year’s free program will be held at the school again from June 17-28.
A teacher and volunteer with the 2012 Parkersburg Safetytown talk in the Fairplains Elementary School gymnasium as students watch. This year’s free program will be held at the school again from June 17-28.
"Safety skills need to be constantly reinforced for children and by teaching them safety measures in a fun way, we will give them a solid beginning," Osborne said.
The program will run from June 17-28 at Fairplains Elementary School, 615 Broadway Ave., with separate morning and afternoon session. The first session will be 9-11:30 a.m. with the second from 1-3:30 p.m.
"We have the morning and afternoon sessions to make it easier on parents to get their kids there," Osborne said. "So many children are involved in other activities that one session is easier to participate in than others."
The same information will be covered during both sessions. Each session will be broken into five centers each day with a snack and craft, film, classroom, guest speaker and an opportunity to visit the miniature Parkersburg Safetytown city for motorist and pedestrian safety.
Osborne said there are still openings for both sessions.
"We have enough space for 200 children," she said. "We would love to be full to present each child with a safety conscious."
Registration forms can be found at Fairplains School and at the Wood County Board of Education Office or by registering the first day at 8:45 a.m. at the school for the morning or at 12:45 p.m. for the afternoon session.
Staff for the program are Wood County Schools teachers and volunteers are high school and middle school students.
"We have so much planned for this year it is just awesome," Osborne said.
Funding for the Parkersburg Safetytown is provided by the United Way Alliance of the Mid-Ohio Valley, North Parkersburg Kiwanis Club and snacks provided by the summer feeding program.
For the first year, the program has partnered with Easy Rider buses to provide free transportation to the school for students who need it.
The program is free to children attending, but donations are accepted. For more information call Osborne at 304-422-2944.