Keeping kids safe
Youngster Keiden MrCreery has his thumb print taken by U.S. Army Garrison Livorno, Italy, force protection officer, James Cole, as aprt of Month of the Military Child.

LIVORNO, Italy - Several initiatives are happening at U.S. Army Garrison Livorno to enhance safety while celebrating Month of the Military Child in April.

For example, the Camp Darby Livorno Unit School is participating in a social studies program that takes students on field trips around the area, said Stephanie Marra, an elementary school teacher.

Plus, "We (visit) workplaces so children know what their parents do and the responsibilities they take every day," Marra said "This type of program is meant to make children feel more comfortable and to accept the change of a new duty station."

As part of the school program, a group of students visited the garrison security office March 18 to have their thumb prints taken. James Cole, the USAG Livorno force protection officer, explained to them the importance of fingerprinting and how the process is useful in identification, as fingerprints are unique and life-lasting.

"The antiterrorism program and school security program work hand in hand to ensure our school is as safe as we can make it," added Cole. "With the support of the (Drug Abuse Resistance Education) officer, who provides an invaluable service to the community, we try to cover all aspects of security and crime prevention."

The main focus of the entire program, said Staff Sgt. Thomas Garrard, USAG Livorno DARE officer: protecting community youth.

"It's very important," said Garrard, a military policeman, "for children to be aware of and to follow rules - and to understand what happens if they don't."

Garrard works at the school daily, educating children on Internet guidelines, neighborhood awareness, travel/transportation safety and bike riding.

"DARE offers free service for all children in the community, this has a positive impact on the community, it enlivens the way we all can go safely, eliminating stress and discomfort coming from having problems," Garrard said.

Other Month of the Military Child events include a child safety identification and general safety awareness day at the elementary school. Garrard noted that all aspects of safety will be covered, including creating a child fingerprint card.

"We encourage parents to use the resources to educate them on protecting their children," said Garrard. "Parents should always know who the children go out with, where they go. And if parents have to say no, always address positive alternatives and explain the reasons why."

Camp Darby will also hold a bicycle safety class and a child car seat inspection in April.

"Safety programs are up and running all year round, but we celebrate the Month of the Military Child ... to recognize the importance of our children and to show how much we care for them," emphasized Garrard

Page last updated Mon March 23rd, 2009 at 11:00