BELPRE - The Belpre Safety Town program will soon enter its 31st year with a week-and-a-half of young children learning multiple ways to be safe.
There are about 60 children pre-registered for the program, which begins Wednesday morning at Belpre Elementary School on Rockland Avenue, according to Bill VanPelt, teacher and co-coordinator for Safety Town.
"Enrollment has increased in the past couple of years, and we are really pleased to help so many kids," said VanPelt.
This is the 31st year of the program, which was started after a child was hit by a car and died after trying to cross Main Street.
"In the time we've been doing this, we have taught thousands of children about safety," VanPelt said. "Safety Town's goal is to provide children with a safety conscience which can prevent needless accidents which could result in permanent injury, and we do everything we can to make every child in Belpre as safe as possible."
It has been estimated that since 1983, Belpre Safety Town has taught roughly 85 percent of Belpre's incoming and outgoing kindergarten students how to be safe in their world.
"We are now having the children of children we helped over the years," VanPelt added.
The students participating in this year's program, which is open to incoming kindergarten students, will learn about different areas of safety each day.
The subjects will all be taught by professional teachers and well-trained instructors who volunteer their time and will include: bus, stranger danger, ambulances, police and fire, water safety, bike safety and more. Members of area fire and police departments and other area organizations will attend the classes and speak as well as give demonstrations.
Safety Town will be held from 9 to 11:30 a.m. Wednesday through June 6 and is free for all participants with the help of sponsors, including the Belpre Area Community Foundation, Belpre Lion's Club, Belpre Woman's Club and the United Way Alliance of the Mid-Ohio Valley in cooperation with Belpre City Schools, City of Belpre police and fire and water and natural resource organizations.
The students receive free T-shirts that are donated by Wendy's of Belpre.
All sessions will be held, rain or shine. Participants should report promptly for each session at Belpre Elementary School.
Applications and registration forms are available in the office at Belpre Elementary School and new applications will be accepted the first morning at the school, said VanPelt.
For further information contact Van Pelt at firstname.lastname@example.org.