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9/11 Child Safety Expo connects families to community resources | New

CADILLAC – In partnership with the Wexford Missaukee Child Welfare Council, the Cadillac Fire Department will once again host its annual Child Safety Expo in honor of 9/11.

This year’s exhibit will feature more than 35 community organizations focused on family or children’s services. Wexford Missaukee CCP Prevention Coordinator Karen Staub said the Cadillac Fire Department and surrounding police departments contacted the council shortly after the 9/11 attacks looking for a way to serve. positively the community during a time of nationwide mourning.

They felt it would be more effective to focus on families in the community and help them easily connect to the resources they need, even before they need them. Staub said the CPC works to raise donations throughout the year to offer the exhibit free of charge, ensuring anyone in the area can access the organizations it hosts.

Regardless of someone’s socioeconomic status, Staub said resources like parenting classes, first aid education and social media literacy will, at some point or another, become a need. for community members themselves, or for their friends and neighbours. The frequency with which people are exposed to these resources is also imperative for the safety of children.

“We’re all going to need resources from our community at some point, or we’re going to know someone who needs them,” she said. “So the better we can learn about what’s going on in our community, the better we can help our own family, our neighbors, our friends, our community as a whole when those times come.”

The 9/11 anniversary falls on a Sunday this year, so Staub said they were able to move the program to run in the afternoon from 1 to 3 p.m. at the Cadillac Fire Department. Snacks and beverages are provided free through donations from the Cadillac Fire Department, Cadillac Papa Johns and GoGo Squeez in Traverse City.

Public Safety Services will bring equipment and fire trucks for children to interact with while their parents connect with on-site resources.

For the first time, Staub said the exhibit will host the Traverse City Cyber ​​Crimes Unit, which will discuss with attendees the danger posed by the unmonitored use of social media and the internet.

In years past, the exhibit has hosted up to 850 people, and Staub said they come rain or shine. She also expects a strong turnout this year.

It’s been 21 years since the September 11 attacks, and in that time Staub said the safety needs of children have changed significantly, particularly due to the introduction of the internet. When the Twin Towers were hit, she said she was sitting at home breastfeeding her youngest daughter and watching the aftermath on TV. She said as a parent, the experience shone a light on the danger children can face when stepping out into the world.

By continuing to host the expo each year, she hopes to alleviate some of the stress and fear that comes with parenthood and equip families with the tools they need to succeed.

“We’re going to take a closer look at the kind of things that are out there for parents to get them to the level of education they feel they need to better protect their children,” she said.