By CHARITY B. SMITH
Sunday Times Newspapers
MELVINDALE — Superheros are fighting a daily battle against germs in Melvindale, by washing their hands and coughing into their arm.
Local children ages 4 to 6 were taught the importance of rules and safety issues during the 19th annual Safety Town which concluded its two-week-long program Friday
“We talked about things like how to wash your hands and why it’s important,” said Mary DePalma, who has been teaching Safety Town, for 15 years.
The program covered rules crossing streets, using traffic lights and signs, calling 911, animal safety, stranger danger, fighting germs, bicycle safety, and fire safety.
Using a small scale replica city which the Fire Department built behind the fire station 19 years ago — featuring cross walks with signs and working street lights — children learned to safely cross streets on both foot and bike.
Children also were entertained by several safety mascots such as Eddie the Eagle, who spoke of gun safety, and Louie the Lightening bug who taught them of electricity.
Parents were not allowed to attend the classes.
“We don’t allow the parents to come because it distracts the kids from their lessons,” said Saftey Town coordinator Sue Herman, who helped establish the program here.
“When I was president of Kiwanis we needed an activity and discovered Safety Town and we decided we could do it and we did,” she said.
The event is heavily supported by the community with participation by the Police and Fire departments and donations from the Dearborn Kiwanis Club, Town Auto Wash, American Legion Post 472, Slovene American Club, Juanita Luzod, and Rob Vaillancourt.
The donations provided for scholarships for underprivileged youth to attend the program which cost $25 for residents and $35 for non-residents, along with extra equipment that was needed for the program. The Dearborn Kiwanis Club also donated a new bicycle helmet to each child.
“We got a little from everyone,” Herman said.
“It’s good to get some of these kids out,” DePalma said. “Some kids can really use that boost to get started learning that we have rules to keep you safe.”
(Charity B. Smith can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.)