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Kids Alive Fest 2012 promotes child safety

May 19, 2012|By MATTHEW UMSTEAD | matthew.umstead@herald-mail.com
  • Kids of all ages take a tour of the Air Methods Life Net 8-1 helicopter after watching it land at Children's Village of Washington County, Saturday during Kids Alive Fest in Hagerstown.
By Colleen McGrath/Staff Photographer

Kelly Herd’s 2-year-old daughter, Lila, doesn’t like getting into her car seat.

She “makes a stink” about it, according to her mother, who was hopeful the safety message at Kids Alive Fest 2012 Saturday would make a positive impact.

Herd, of Hagerstown, was among hundreds of parents who took their children to the 21st annual open house at Children’s Village of Washington County Inc., according to executive director Rochelle Morrell.

Crowds gathered for K-9, automobile extrication and helicopter landing demonstrations at the Mount Aetna Road facility.

“Last year, (the helicopter) didn’t get here because of the weather,” Morrell said.

Saturday’s pleasant weather likely boosted the event turnout, which Morrell estimated annually ranges between 300 and 500 people.

By 1:30 p.m., nearly 100 children had signed up for the Child Identification Program (CHIP), according to members of the Grand Lodge of Ancient Free and Accepted Masons of Maryland.

Mary Jo Ashburn of Washington County Friends of Education Exchange Club said only a few of the 200 balloons and magnets and other handouts remained after the first couple of hours.

“I’m thrilled,” Ashburn said.

Herd, who also took her two other daughters, Kirsten, 7, and Ashlynne, 18 months, to the event, said she found out about the child safety activities through her oldest daughter’s school, Salem Avenue Elementary.

“She was excited to get on the ambulance and see all the stuff,” Herd said of her oldest child’s interest in the medical field.

Brad Ireland of Hagerstown said he was taking his 3-year-old son, Daniel, and 8-year-old daughter, Maddie, out for lunch when they discovered the event was happening near their home.

“We walk here all the time,” Ireland said.

“I’ve been over here for a field trip,” Maddie added.

Morrell noted that Children’s Village is visited by more than 2,000 county second-graders each year for free life-safety education and emergency preparedness programs that are part of the schools’ curriculum.

The five-acre facility is operated on a budget of about $150,000 and fundraising is critical to keeping the nonprofit safety education center afloat, Morrell said. 

This year, Morrell said Children’s Village will host a 5K and Kids 1 Mile Fun Run for the first time on June 23 as part of efforts to raise support for programs.

People interested in participating in the 5K can register online through Children’s Village website at http://childrensvillage.us/.

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