Newtown Youth & Family Services (NYFS) Safety Town students huddled in front of Newtown Parks & Recreation life guards Jenn McDonald and Megan Duero on Thursday, July 31.
Ms Duero and Ms McDonald had some lessons to teach the students about swimming, and they weren’t the only visitors for the day.
As Ms Duero and Ms McDonald taught the students swimming safety tips, Porco’s Karate Academy representatives waited outside to instruct the students about “stranger danger,” when and when not to use martial arts, how to be a good friend, how to stand up to bullies, and show a few self defense moves.
Safety Town was offered at NYFS this summer during two sessions — one ran from July 21 to 25 and the other from July 28 to August 1. Safety Town was developed in 1964 as a national program to teach young children important lessons on traffic, fire, water, bus, and bicycle safety, awareness of medicine and poison, and awareness of strangers. This is the second year NYFS has offered Safety Town.
All safety topics are taught in collaboration with local community and health agencies, including All-Star Transportation, Newtown Parks & Recreation, Newtown Police Department, Sandy Hook Fire & Rescue Company, and others. NYFS staff including Community Coordinator Kaitlyn Johnson, operations assistant Matt Ariniello, and recreational therapist Angie Mavrakis also lead the program. NYFS clinical staff members serve as assistants.
Last year Patrick Brady of B&B Home Design & Improvement LLC of Ridgefield and his wife Louise built small-scale buildings for use with Safety Town. The buildings offer the students a chance to practice safety in a town environment. This year, according to Ms Johnson, Mr Brady again helped build the scale buildings, which are set up behind NYFS for classes.
More information about NYFS and its programs is available NewtownYouthAndFamilyServices.org.