It takes a village: Safety Village celebrates 28th year


A group leader reads a book about stranger danger between safety presentations Photos provided by JWCS

Sparta — The Junior Woman’s Club (JWCS) recently held at the Sparta Methodist Church its annual Safety Village program, a comprehensive and fun safety education curriculum for children entering kindergarten in the fall. The program was run this year by Lucy Lubertazzo, Joelle Geddie and Sonja O’Connell, all club members. With experience from past participation in this program, the women successfully organized various presenters to educate over 70 five year olds on safety protocols inside and outside of home, school, and neighborhood. “My oldest son participated in the program three years ago and this year my youngest got to experience the fun. I absolutely love seeing all the kids enjoying themselves while learning valuable safety lessons they’ll use for years to come.” said Sonja.
In its 28th year, Safety Village featured many civil servants from the community who generously donated their time to educate and entertain the children. This program provides a great opportunity for the community to provide lifelong lessons to its children. Boy Scout Troop 150 taught the children what to bring on a hike to stay safe and how to safely kayak. Sparta Karate taught the children some beginner karate moves, as well as what to do if you lose your parent in a store. Officers from the Sussex County Sheriff’s Office brought their K9s and taught the children about the different types of police dogs, as well as what it’s like to work with a police dog. An officer from the Sparta Police Department brought a patrol car and showed the children the inside and how to work the sirens and lights. They also taught the children when to call 911. Karen Lund from Fish & Wildlife Natural Research Center told the children to stand tall, look large, and yell to warn off the black bears. Sparta Ambulance Squad showed the children the inside of an ambulance and taught the them how to use a stethoscope. Learning traffic signals, pool rules, and how to safely ride a bus were goals other presenters accomplished with clarity, energy and amusement.
For the fifth year in a row, parents of the participants were given the opportunity to volunteer to help escort the children to the safety presentations.
“I was so exited to learn that I could participate as a volunteer. I had such a great time going to the presentations with my daughter. I highly recommend this program to anyone with an incoming kindergartner.” said Kate Fedge.
Once again local businesses helped offset the costs for this event. For the fourth year in a row, Sparta Pharmacy generously made a monetary contribution in addition to the bags that the children get to take home. Stop & Shop provided a monetary donation towards snacks, beverages, and paper products needed for the four-day camp. All proceeds from Safety Village will be donated back to the community by the JWCS, a non-profit organization.
For the second year, the Sparta Methodist Church made available the use of their facility for the four days of the program. The Junior Woman’s Club is appreciative for its generosity and partnership in helping to put on yet another successful Safety Village.
JWCS is comprised of women from Sparta and surrounding towns that have come together as friends to foster goodwill and hold events and activities to bring the community together. Each year, the JWCS raises and distributes thousands of dollars to local organizations and charities. For more information about membership and upcoming events, visit the JWCS website at jwcsparta.org.