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The Washington County Family YMCA will be offering a Safe Sitter® Training on Friday, April 1st, 2016 at their Y campus to help prepare youth to be safe when home alone and caring for younger children.

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With a grant given by the Washington County Substance Abuse Council, The Y was able to become an official Safe Sitter® site. Safe Sitter® is the only national nonprofit devoted to preparing children to be safe when home alone, watching younger siblings, Safe Sitter® is more than a babysitting class; it’s a cause. Safe Sitter® began because of a tragedy.

The accidental death of a nurse’s young child while in the care of an adult babysitter prompted Patricia A. Keener, M.D, an Indianapolis pediatrician, to create Safe Sitter®. Dr. Keener recognized the vulnerability of young children when cared for by unprepared providers and decided to increase the availability of safe and nurturing adolescent caregivers.

In March 1980, a mere two weeks after the tragic event, Dr. Keener taught the first Safe Sitter® class at Park Tudor School in Indianapolis, IN. That same spring, classes were taught at Community Hospital where Dr. Keener was Director of Nurseries.  She began recruiting other caring adults to help teach the classes.

In 1983 she taught the first Instructor Workshop in Indianapolis to train others how to teach children to be better, For more than 30 years, Safe Sitter® has continued to grow and provide innovation in teaching young teens to be safe when unsupervised. There are now over 850 Registered Safe Sitter® Teaching Sites in 49 states providing students with the life and safety skills to be safe while home alone, watching younger siblings, or babysitting.

The Washington County Family YMCA is one of the newest Teaching Sites! When asked why this training is so vital, Safe Sitter® Program Support Specialist Donna Willis-Brown stated, “We want to remind parents that injuries can be prevented and children need to be prepared to stay home alone, watch younger siblings, or babysit.  We believe that completion of a Safe Sitter® class should be a community standard for all youth.”

According to the organization, too little emphasis is placed on the responsibility young teens assume when staying home alone, watching younger siblings, or babysitting.

Teens want to be able to show parents they’re ready, and parents need the peace of mind that they truly are!

Safe Sitter® trains teens to provide safe, nurturing child care.  Young teens want to stay home alone – and many already are. In many households, both parents work, and households are being let by single parents more than ever before. Families are changing but one thing remains the same: parents want their children to experience opportunities that will help them succeed in life.  Safe Sitter® teaches a life-saving, confidence building program to young teens so parents don’t have to wonder if they are ready to stay home alone, watch younger siblings, or babysit.

“Safe Sitter® is an important way we can empower our youth, prepare them to be business and career minded, and also help them to keep our youth safe,” stated Youth First Director Rosie Morehous. “We all want to know our kids are safe. As a mother of three, I am very blessed to have some wonderful family baby sitters that are trained in caring for young children. When we had the opportunity to make this skill set available to our community through the Y becoming a registered Safe Sitter® Site, it was a no Youth ages eleven and up are encouraged to come out during Spring Break from 9:00am to 3:00pm and sharpen their caregiving and business skills. Registration fees for members of the YMCA are $40, with a $55 fee for nonmembers.

Participants are requested to pack a healthy lunch, and will be provided with a HEPA compliant snack. For more information, or to register, contact the YMCA at 812-883-9622, visit the website at www.wcfymca.org, e-mail Ashley Hubbard at [email protected], or stop in the Y at 1709 North Shelby Street, Salem, IN 47167.