LONDON, Ky. (Jan. 11, 2023) – The Nurturing Children Program at Saint Joseph London has launched a pilot project at Lynn Camp Elementary School aimed at keeping kids safe when they come in contact with a firearm. The Eddie Eagle GunSafe® program kicked off Jan. 5 at the school.
“Through this program, we are eager to provide an effort that builds awareness to help children remain safe around guns,” said John Yanes, president, Saint Joseph London. “We are pleased to be able to partner with schools in southeastern Kentucky to prevent tragedies.”
According to the Gun Violence Archive, in 2022, two children under age 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. Across the U.S. between 2015 and 2020, there were at least 2,070 unintentional shootings by children that resulted in 765 deaths and 1,366 nonfatal gun injuries, according to the Gun Violence Archive.
The Eddie Eagle program focuses on one mission: to teach children four simple steps so they know what to do if they ever come across a gun. Those easy-to-remember steps are: Stop; Don’t Touch; Run Away; and Tell a grown-up. The program was developed in 1988 by a task force comprised of educators, school administrators, curriculum specialists, urban housing safety officials, clinical psychologists, law enforcement officials and National Rifle Association firearm safety experts.
“Through our violence prevention work, we are always looking for ways to make sure kids understand different situations that could put them in danger,” said Mollie Harris, manager, Violence Prevention Program. “This project could not be possible without the support and work of the Knox County Sheriff’s Department and the Knox County School System.”
Representatives with the Knox County Sheriff’s Department and Knox County Schools lauded the opportunity to work with CHI Saint Joseph Health in efforts to protect children.
“The safety and well-being of our children is the greatest priority,” said Steve Owens, school resource officer from the Knox County Sheriff’s Department. “Anytime an opportunity comes along to develop or use a new approach to protect these children, it’s our responsibility to try, and then to nurture that. I’m beyond excited to have the opportunity to be a part of this effort to reach our children in a new way.”
Principal Emily Haneline said Lynn Camp Elementary is honored to be selected as the pilot location for the program.
“The safety of our students is always our number one priority and this collaboration with CHI Saint Joseph Health and the Knox County Sheriff Department allows us to extend beyond just our school and provide our students and families with critical knowledge to keep our students safe across all settings,” Haneline said. “We are grateful to Mollie Harris for her vision; without it none of this would have been possible. I’m excited to see the impact that this program will have for not only our students, but for students throughout Knox County.”
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. Schools interested in participating in the Eddie Eagle GunSafe® program can contact Mollie Harris at [email protected].
About CHI Saint Joseph Health
CHI Saint Joseph Health, part of CommonSpirit Health, is one of the largest and most comprehensive health systems in the Commonwealth of Kentucky with 100 locations in 20 counties, including hospitals, physician groups, clinics, primary care centers, specialty institutes, home health agencies and an ambulatory Care Center. The hospitals in CHI Saint Joseph Health are Flaget Memorial Hospital, Saint Joseph Berea, Saint Joseph East, Saint Joseph Hospital, Saint Joseph Jessamine, Saint Joseph London, Saint Joseph Mount Sterling, and Women’s Hospital at Saint Joseph East. In total, the health system serves patients in 35 counties statewide. CHI Saint Joseph Health is dedicated to providing a wide array of services toward a goal of building a healthier future for all. CHI Saint Joseph Health embodies a strong mission and faith-based heritage and works through local partnerships to expand access to care in the communities it serves.
About Saint Joseph London
Saint Joseph London is a 150-bed full-service hospital located in London, Kentucky. Established in 1926, the facility serves patients from southeastern Kentucky, including those from Clay, Laurel, Jackson, Whitley, Knox and Pulaski counties. The current $152 million regional hospital opened in 2010, and offers all private patient rooms, with most overlooking a small lake and garden on the 52-acre healing environment.