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Program Teaches Safety Tips to Address Gun Violence

Program Teaches Safety Tips to Address Gun Violence

May 30, 2024 Posted in: Health & Wellness  2 minute read time

The Nurturing Children Program at Saint Joseph London launched a new program in Knox County elementary schools this year called Eddie Eagle GunSafe®, providing education to children ages 4-11 about what to do when encountering a firearm. 

Piloting the program in January 2023 at Lynn Camp Elementary School, Saint Joseph London Nurturing Children Program manager Mollie Harris said participants embraced the message taught by the iconic mascot, Eddie the Eagle, donned by Lynn Camp High School senior T.J. Mills. 

The pilot expanded in the spring of 2023 to all Knox County elementary schools and Barbourville Elementary School. Eight schools participated in the program between January and May 2023, with 2,531 students educated through the program. 

“It was really inspiring to see how much the kids connected with our volunteers and the mascot,” Harris said. “We appreciate the partnership with the school district and local law enforcement to support this program.”

The program focused on four simple steps, “stop; don’t touch; run away; tell a grown-up,” that are taught by Eddie the Eagle using song and dance. The program was developed in 1988 by a task force composed of educators, school administrators, curriculum specialists, urban housing safety officials, clinical psychologists, law enforcement officials and National Rifle Association firearm safety experts.

“The best result we could get from this program is seeing how kids are repeating the song and talking about Eddie Eagle weeks and months after the presentation.” Harris said. “It’s important that the children are repeating the lesson. That will reduce firearm injuries through preventive actions.” 

Harris said 96% of the participants recalled the steps to take if they encounter a firearm upon post-presentation survey. With the success of the program, the program will continue to expand. The program will be provided in Laurel County Schools during the 2023-24 school year.

According to the Gun Violence Archive, in 2022, two children under the age of 11 were killed and 19 injured in gun incidents in Kentucky. Six teens were killed, and 53 were injured in the same year in the Commonwealth. 

The Nurturing Children Program at Saint Joseph London is made possible through a grant from the CommonSpirit Health Mission and Ministry Fund. The goal of the program is to reduce child abuse and neglect as well as child fatality.

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