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What do a K-9 Police Dog named Sirius, an egg wearing a foam helmet named “Eggbella” and a boating instructor with a dozen different sized life jackets have in common?

They participated in Safe Kids Day at Connecticut Children’s on Thursday, June 2, 2022.

For elementary school children, the month of June marks the conclusion of another school year, and the start of summer vacation. That means more time playing outside, pool parties, bike rides and spending time with friends.

Thanks to the generosity of the Connecticut Elks Association, 80 students in grades 3-5 from Sand Elementary School in Hartford spent a jam-packed morning at Connecticut Children’s engaging in safety lessons and activities. The timing couldn’t have been better, as students had just a few school days remaining before summer vacation.

A student takes a turn spinning the safety trivia wheel

Learning Outside the Classroom

Groups of students rotated through a dozen stations geared toward different aspects of safety. One station was “Fat Attack” where students were asked about their favorite foods. A liquid motion bubbler displayed a side-by-side comparison of a clear artery and a clogged artery, to create a visual representation of what unhealthy eating does to your body. Students nodded along when the instructor explained how clogged arteries can lead to myriad health issues, including heart attacks. A few students even chimed in, sharing how a family member had suffered a heart attack or other severe health issues.

Sirius was the K-9 on duty, and officers from the Hartford Police Department engaged him with a rope toy while they explained his role on the force. Sirius is trained to sniff out drugs and help find missing people. Officers explained the important role Sirius plays in keeping families in Hartford safe.

Members of the Injury Prevention Center at Connecticut Children’s had “Eggbella” in action to teach students about helmet safety and the importance of wearing your helmet while biking. They had several eggs protected with Styrofoam helmets to demonstrate how effective they are at protecting against a fall. Dropping the egg from a respectable height on the helmet prevented cracking and was an engaging exercise to delight and inform the kids.

A Hartford Police K-9 Officer talks to students

Making Safety Fun

Students particularly enjoyed the table staffed by members of the Connecticut Elks, which featured a wheel to spin with different safety categories including Sports, Fire, Pet and Bicycle. Students won a color-changing pencil when they answered a question in the category they landed on. When it was her turn to spin the wheel, Dairelys, a fifth grade student, declared, “This is really fun!”

Howie, an Elk from Branford Lodge 1939, was equally as enthusiastic about Safe Kids Day. “It’s nice to gather with Elks from other lodges to support Connecticut Children’s,” he said. “We are honored to do whatever we can to help.”

While Safe Kids Day looked a lot like a carnival or an elementary school’s Field Day, the event was designed to deliver key safety lessons. Students were doing jumping jacks, trying on life jackets, testing out a stretcher and crawling through a staged fire safety trailer. While they played, they learned all about best safety practices in different categories. This approach was particularly effective, as Kendyl, another student, said, “The activities are so fun and I’m learning a lot.”

Being a Safe Kid can be Fun too!

Enjoyed By All

Safe Kids Day is a meaningful experience for members of the Connecticut Elks Association, who have supported patients and families at Connecticut Children’s since 1953 (Connecticut Children's originated from the former Newington Children's Hospital). Gerry, an Elk from Manchester Lodge 1893 enjoyed witnessing the impact of the Elks’ generosity first-hand: “It’s so nice to see the kids excited about learning.”

Fellow Elk, Deb from New Britain Lodge 957 was impressed with the effective way students were learning. “I love the interactive nature of the activities,” she said. “It captures the students’ attention. They’re enjoying themselves as they learn.”

The Elks Make It Possible

Connecticut Children’s is grateful to the Connecticut Elks Association for their longtime support, furthering the impact of safety initiatives throughout local communities. In fact, Safe Kids Day simply would not have been possible without their generosity. “We couldn’t hold this event without the support of the Elks, and the gift of time so many of their members gave us,” said Amy Watkins, Director, Safe Kids Connecticut. “From the bottoms of our hearts, we thank the Connecticut Elks Association for their decades of support and for keeping Connecticut’s children safe throughout the year.”

Next time you see a child wearing a bike helmet or reaching for a banana instead of a cheeseburger, it may be because the Connecticut Elks helped make learning about safety fun!

Safe Kids Day was enjoyed by all who attended!

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