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Chamber plans second annual 'Safety Town'

A successful summer program for children hosted by the Unicoi County Chamber of Commerce and Erwin Police Department will return next month.
According to Chamber officials, Safety Town, is an interactive and comprehensive education program that introduces awareness and preventative procedures for children ages 4-8. These procedures are taught through discussions, role playing, walks, games, songs and artwork.
The curriculum also reportedly teaches children about stranger danger, as well as internet, fire, bicycle, water, gun, drugs and poison safety. The curriculum is geared for each age.
The program will include three morning classes which will be held at the Unicoi County Middle School. Two sessions of the program will be available for parents to choose.
“Safety Town is a national program taught in many cities across the United States,” Chamber Executive Director Amanda Delp said. “We were able to take direction from the national criteria and develop a program unique for Unicoi County, tying in aspects of importance for our young children like railroad safety.”
According to Delp, the classes will be taught by trained and qualified individuals from the Erwin Police Department, Erwin Fire Department, Unicoi County Health Department and other contributing agencies.
Children will also receive individualized help to memorize their addresses and telephone numbers. On the last day of class, children will be fingerprinted and will receive identification cards in which parents can keep on file.
Delp credited Dawn Edwards, the Chamber’s tourism director, with bringing the idea of a safety program for children to the county.
“During one of our weekly staff meetings, we were brainstorming ideas for new programs and events for the community and Dawn brought up the idea of Safety Town and I knew that it was an event that this community needed and felt confident that the Erwin Police Department would partner with us on making the concept a reality in Unicoi County,” added Delp. “We could not have been more pleased with the outcome of last year’s program. More than 70 children graduated from the two sessions.”
Edwards said her children participated in the program in her hometown.
“Safety Town was a program taught in my previous hometown of Detroit, Mich.,” Edwards said. “My three children had the opportunity to graduate from the program there and, as a parent, I saw how the program stressed the importance of preparing our children to cope with and understand safety hazards in order to prevent accidents.
“Safety Town was one of the most important things I did for my children during their developmental years.”
The first session will be held June 2 – 4 and the second session will be held on June 9 – 11. The times for both sessions will be the same with classes held from 8 a.m. to noon.
“The class will be a fun and enjoyable experience for the children. Arts and crafts will be included in the agenda,” Edwards said. “Each child will be given a Safety Town T-Shirt in which they can wear for their Safety Town Graduation on Thursday morning.”
A registration fee of $20 for residents and $30 for non-Unicoi County residents will be included. A limited number of scholarships are available for the program for those needing financial assistance.
For more information on Safety Town or to pick up a Safety Town application, please contact the Chamber at 743-3000.