Safe Sitter is a national program devoted to offering medically accurate babysitting courses for young teens. The courses are developmentally appropriate and geared toward children ages 11-13, teaching students how to be safe and knowledgeable babysitters. The program covers basic safety and life-saving skills including the Heimlich maneuver, CPR, how to handle strangers and other safety measures. The program also teaches children business and advertising skills, which help children view babysitting as a business in addition to a service.
The Parenting Center, which is based out of Children’s Hospital and was a former JLNO project, organizes the Safe Sitter program for the New Orleans area. JLNO wanted to help boost enrollment in the program and to engage people who would not otherwise receive the services. In keeping with the spirit of voluntarism and community, JLNO created the Safe Sitter Scholarship program.
“The Scholarship program is always a priority and part of the Safe Sitter program,” Megan Gorman, Safe Sitter Chair explained. “The Parenting Center hands out flyers, information is on the JLNO website, and certain schools are targeted with the information to get the word out. The program has 30 spots reserved for students this summer, with six spots being filled already.”
Aidan Couvillon demonstrates the Heimlich maneuver to the parents during the Safe Sitters graduation ceremony on June 25.
The Scholarship program reserves three positions. When receiving an application, there is a box to check whether a child receives free or reduced school lunches during the school year. If checked, the applicant is eligible to receive a scholarship. This opens up the program to an income bracket that may not get to go to summer camps or after school programs and where siblings often take on the role as a caregiver while parents are at work.
“The Scholarship Program was originally a scholarship class,” Megan said. “It was broken up by class and into three scholarship positions to ensure… that we could reach people.”
JLNO covers the cost of Safe Sitter training and lunch for the scholarship recipients, many of whom are older siblings put in charge of younger family members. The program allows them to have the resources they need to care for their brothers and sisters while providing them with a nurturing, positive experience.
Please check out this exciting opportunity and encourage your children to get involved in this awesome program.