HANCEVILLE, Ala. — A contingent of more than 20 Wallace State Community College students were on hand during the recent SafeKids Expo held at Sportsman Lake Park hosted by Brooks’ Place Child Advocacy Center. Students from the college’s Nursing and Respiratory Therapy programs volunteered their time during the event.
Janet Brown, nursing instructor at Wallace State, organized the student volunteers who were dressed in bright orange shirts with the Wallace State Lion on the back. The students helped serve popcorn and snow cones, monitored children at the inflatables, applied glitter tattoos, gave out information to parents, and performed puppet shows.
The puppeteers with the college’s Children’s of Alabama Kids on the Block puppetry program presented a number of skits to SafeKids Expo attendees, dealing with a range of topics, including bullying.
Courtney Etheredge, a nursing student at Wallace State from Decatur, is in her second semester at the college and as a puppeteer in the program. She said she’s been a puppeteer before with her church, and decided to volunteer her time with Wallace State’s program when Brown told her class about it.
“I love that it teaches the kids important lessons in a fun way,” Etheredge said of the Kids on the Block program. “It’s easier for them to understand, because it’s something that will stick with them.”
Interacting with youngsters at the puppet shows is also a good way to help prepare students like Etheredge who want to focus on pediatrics in their career. “I want to do pediatric oncology,” Etheredge said. “And it won’t be just caring for them, but caring for their families, so I think it’s something that’s very near and dear to my heart and that I can easily be patient about.”
Brown was excited to have students from the Respiratory Therapy program at Wallace State join them this year.
“Respiratory Therapy brought smoking cessation information, I’m really excited about that,” Brown said. Coloring books about poison control and puppets for students to color were also offered to attendees.
The students also provided information about checking and treating for lice, and proper car seat installation. A student’s parent donated jump ropes to give away as an encouragement for being physically active, and students played games with children attending the expo.
For more information about Wallace State Community College, visit www.wallacestate.edu or call 256.352.8000.