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Children's Village seeks new board members

November 03, 2003|by Allen E. Swope, President

To the editor:

For the past 13 years, Children's Village of Washington County Inc. has addressed safety issues in the community by providing a free life-safety education program for all second-grade students in Washington County.

Students attending Children's Village come from public, private and home schools. Our program has been responsible for many success stories. To date, there have been 12 documented cases where children saved themselves or others using skills they learned at Children's Village.

Additionally, there are other instances where emergency situations were avoided because children were trained, through our program, to make proper choices.

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Our curriculum, approved by the Board of Education, covers a wide range of safety topics including pedestrian and bicycle safety, traffic signs and signals, home fire prevention and escape techniques, water safety, stranger danger and 911 telephone emergency techniques, to mention a few.

Although the Children's Village life safety education program is designed for second graders, the information students learn goes beyond their classrooms at the Village and into the community.

Youngsters work with parents, siblings or other caregivers completing safety homework assignments. These lessons help disseminate safety information into the entire community, while also requiring home safety checks for families of students.

Children's Village is a not-for-profit organization, depending on private donations to cover 80 percent of its operating budget. However, Children's Village also receives county and state support. Further, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), through grant awards, supported the Children's Village mission for the past two years.

In fact, recognizing the vital link between our program and community safety, FEMA currently sponsors tours of Children's Village for all public educators, fire chiefs and EMT personnel enrolled in risk reduction classes at the National Fire Academy in Emmitsburg, Md. We are proud of this national recognition and support.

The Children's Village program has made great strides during the past 13 years, because of the commitment of our entire community. In order to continue moving forward, we need your help, input and innovative ideas. Currently, Children's Village is in need of several board members. Board vacancies are the result of a variety of factors, from the recent deaths of several board members to the term limitation of others.

We are making a community-wide appeal for new board members. If you care about children, are concerned for their safety and the safety of our community, have a desire to use your talents to help area students, and to build on the past accomplishments of Children's Village, please let us know.

We welcome individuals with diverse backgrounds, from business people and concerned parents, to educators or retired individuals. We know from past experience that incorporating the talents and time of many can minimize what is needed from individual board members.

Widespread community vision and support created the Children's Village initiative. We believe we can count on that same type of community support to increase our board membership. If you have questions or would like further information, please call Children's Village at 301-733-4443. We hope you'll consider supporting area youngsters by joining our team!

Allen E. Swope, President

Children's Village Board of Directors

Hagerstown

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