Children grinned, giggled and got some playtime while learning about safety during Safe Kids Day Saturday in downtown Hinesville.
The Hinesville Police Department organizes the annual event to educate parents and children about protecting themselves and preventing accidents.
HPD traffic patrol officers fingerprinted children and gave away pencils and stickers. Some HPD officers allowed themselves to be dunked in a dunk tank, spreading cheer and interacting with the public.
Organizations including local fire departments, the United Way of the Coastal Empire, Helen’s Haven, the Rape Crisis Center of the Coastal Empire, Georgia Southern University’s Wildlife Center, Keep Liberty Beautiful, the Target Distribution Center in Midway and the Georgia Department of Natural Resources manned booths, offering literature, advice and goodies to area families and kids.
“We’re passing out child abuse prevention information for different age levels and literature on bullying and sexting,” said Helen’s Haven social worker Terri Liles. She also handed out pencils and pinwheels.
United Way Liberty County Volunteer Coordinator Kathleen Lancia was giving out books and pamphlets to promote reading and Internet safety.
“It’s a proven fact children who read make better choices,” Lancia said.
Morgan Stokes brought her 3-year-old daughter, Abigail, to the day to get familiar with people in her community, such as police officers and firefighters.
“Plus, I work for the city,” Stokes, a deputy municipal court clerk, said. “We like to participate in city activities.”
Fort Stewart firefighter Shane Shifflett brought one of the 2010 Pink Heals Tour fire trucks. The former Liberty County Fire Services engine was named in memory of Carolyn Stevens, who lost her battle to cancer two years ago. The truck now has more than 30,000 signatures on it, Shifflett said.
He and other area firefighters participated in the “Guardians of the Ribbon” 2010 Pink Heals Tour to raise cancer awareness and funds for cancer research.
GSU Wildlife Center education assistant Alison Ramsay presented Scottie, a 2-year-old red-tailed hawk. Her co-worker, GSU student Miah Johnson, allowed kids to touch Molly, a corn snake. Ramsay said by bringing wildlife to children, they teach them to respect wildlife and “what to do if they find a snake or other animal in the wild.”