By Beverly Gadson-Birch
School is weeks from being over and 16-year-old Martin Capers of Walterboro will not be returning next school term. Capers drowned over the weekend and his body was recovered in the Edisto River. What a tragedy!!!
The Charleston County Parks Department has many structured activities for children. Check out their website, CCPRC.com, or call for information on summer programs to help keep your child involved and safe during the summer break. According to the Park’s website, an array of programs are offered from Explorers Day Camp, ages 6-9 to Junior Counselor Leadership Program, ages 13-16. Some full and partial scholarships are available based upon economic need.
Research other available programs to ensure your child’s safety and involvement in a summer enrichment program. Take advantage of summer reading programs at your neighborhood library. Learning does not stop when school lets out for the summer.
Some tips to help keep your child safe:
• Pay attention to your surroundings when leaving home and getting in and out of your car.
• Take time to show your children the correct way to cross the street. Children should cross the street at the corner and not between cars. Teach them never to cross between cars. They should not attempt to cross the street before looking in all directions. Drivers, beware!
• Never leave minor children home alone. Some children mature faster than others and can assume more responsibility, but they are still children. Let your child be a child for as long as he/she can.
• Keep windows and doors locked. The days when you viewed your home as a safe haven are gone.
• Turn your alarm/monitor system on when you leave home and at night. What good is the system if it is not activated?
• Take your child to pools where there are certified lifeguards on duty. Caution your child regarding the dangers of ponds, rivers and water holes. If your neighbor has a pool that is not fenced in or has a locked cover, report him/her. That is a sure invite for neighborhood children and a tragedy waiting to happen.
• Be sure that you have a busy summer planned for your child. “An idle mind is the devil’s workshop.”
• Do not leave your child in car unattended. The southern summers are extremely hot.
• Do not leave a weapon in your home where your child can get to it. If you must have one at all, keep it hidden high out of reach in a locked box.
• Know where your child is at all times. It doesn’t hurt to call repeatedly, if necessary, to see where your child is and what he/she is up to.
• Be sure young girls and boys are dressed appropriately for the heat, but not provocative.
• Never leave your child alone with strangers or questionable friends and family for the summer. Be sure you “investigate” the “baby sitter”. You can’t be 100% sure of anything. Check references. Ask questions!
• Do not leave matches or flammable materials where your child can get them. There is something about fire that excites children.
Summers are supposed to be full-filled. As a result, we have children that are depressed. They see their friends going places for the summer and they have no place to go. Parents, if you can’t afford to take your children on a vacation, take advantage of the many parks and activities around home. Some of the parks, movie theatres and recreational centers have discounts for students. If all else fails, ask for help. No one can help you if they don’t know you need help. Churches and community organizations are always there to lend a helping hand. Provide wholesome summer recreation and activities for your children.
Have a safe summer!