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It takes a (safety) village
Author: Anne Blythe; Staff Writer
Durham -- Police have a new place to teach children how to cross a street safely and other valuable life-saving lessons.
A 25-person team from the Legacy Center, a leadership training program in Chapel Hill, spent the past five weeks transforming three Morreene Park tennis courts into the diminutive Durham Safety Village complete with small plywood homes, shops, a hospital, miniature streets, stop signs and traffic lights -- just like any Smalltown, USA.
"It's something that has been a labor of love for a lot of people," Danny Polinsky, 24, said Sunday afternoon before turning over the keys to the village to the Durham Police Department. "This is really our gift from us to the children of the Triangle and the state of North Carolina."
At the village, police will teach youngsters about guns, drugs, traffic and other safety issues. Firefighters will coach them about what to do in case of a fire.
"What you see before you today is the culmination of a vision I had about a year and a half ago," Lt. J.R. Byrd Sr. said.
On Sunday afternoon, the leadership team members celebrated the results of their labor with a small ceremony at the new village. Children pedaled along the new routes and hoisted balloons.
Byrd plans to develop a Safety Village curriculum soon so classes can be offered in the summer and on school breaks.
Logan Hawke, 10, of Pinehurst, left, and Dallas Mitchell, 7, of Deep River ride around the Durham Safety Village in Morreene Park. A leadership training team created the mock village.
Reprinted with Permission of The News & Observer of Raleigh, North Carolina.
It takes a small village to teach child safety
DURHAM -- Children can learn all about safety, from how to deal with strangers to gun safety, when the police department dedicates its first childrens Safety Village on Sunday. Safety Village, at Morreene Road Park on Morreene Road near U.S. 15-501 Bypass, teaches 4- and 5-year-old children lessons about playground, bicycle, fire and gun safety. Children also can get pointers about traffic, being a pedestrian, poisons, drugs and what to do when confronted with strangers. The lessons are taught in a miniature village setting, which includes a firehouse, school, mall, residential neighborhood and police station. The village structure was developed by The Legacy Group of Chapel Hill, a leadership training organization that requires its members to perform community service. The project, initiated more than a year ago, was entirely financed through community and business donations. It is a joint effort of the Durham Police Department, Durham Parks and Recreation Department, Durham Fire Department, City of Durham Traffic Engineering (Sign Shop), Safe Communities Committee, and SAFE KIDS.
December 10, 2001
SAFETY FIRST: Meredith Hawke jumps rope during a ceremony for the Durham Safety Village at Morreene Road Park on Sunday. The village was the idea of the N.C. 42 Leadership Team of the Legacy Center in conjunction with Durham police, Durham Parks and Recreation and Durham Safe Communities. Classes will start in the spring to teach area children about safety.
Reprinted from The Herald-Sun, (Durham, NC)