Smoke Alarms Safety Tips

For those of us who are moving in at the  beginning of the semester or just haven’t checked in a while, the Department of Public Safety wants to remind you to make sure your apartments or homes are equipped with functioning smoke alarms. Smoke alarms save lives. The National Fire Protection Association offers the following tips concerning smoke alarms:

Properly installed and maintained  smoke alarms play a vital role in reducing fire deaths and injuries. If there is a fire in your home, smoke spreads fast; smoke alarms give you time to get out! Remember these important tips:

  • There are two kinds of alarms: Ionization smoke alarms are quicker to warn about flaming fires. Photoelectric alarms are quicker to warn about smoldering fires. It is best to use of both types of alarms in your house or apartment.
  • A closed door may slow the spread of smoke, heat, and fire. Install smoke alarms in every sleeping room and outside each separate sleeping area. Install alarms on every level of the home.
  • Smoke alarms should be interconnected. When one sounds, they all sound.
  • Large homes may need extra smoke alarms.
  • Test your smoke alarms at least once a month. Press the test button to be sure the alarm is working.
  • When a smoke alarm sounds, get outside immediately and stay outside.
  • Replace all smoke alarms in your home every 10 years.

[Ben Boltinghouse is a public safety officer with Parkland College.]

Buckle Up: The Benefits of Regular Seat Belt Use

Now that we’re well into road trip season, this week’s post is going to discuss the importance of seat belt use. From a young age, we have had it drilled into us how crucial it is to wear a seat belt when we’re in a vehicle, but many people still decide not to buckle up before they hit the road.

The good news is that the CDC reports that Illinois is above the national average when it comes to regular seat belt use: 94% of Illinois drivers wear their seat belts as opposed to 86% nationwide. The bad news is that this still leaves over 750,000 drivers in the state who don’t regularly buckle up. Here’s what you should be aware of:

  • People between the ages of 21 and 34, particularly men,  are the most likely to be killed or seriously injured in a car accident, and many of those casualties are due to a lack of proper seat belt use.
  • On top of a mountain of statistics that show seat belt use saves lives is the fact that Illinois is a “Primary Enforcement” state. This means that you can get pulled over and given a citation just for not wearing your seat belt, as opposed to needing to observe a separate violation to initiate a traffic stop.

I think it’s safe to say that police officers would much rather everyone just wore their seat belt in the first place, however Primary Enforcement has been shown to be an effective tool to increase the rates of regular seat belt use. The Parkland College Police Department asks that you join us in committing to wear your seat belt, every time.

[Ben Boltinghouse is a public safety officer with Parkland College.]

Safety in the Summer Heat

Parkland College’s summer session has begun, and the regular public safety messages will also be returning.

This week, we’re going to talk about dealing with the warmer summer temperatures, particularly as they relate to vehicles. If you’re going to be making long road trips in the summer, be sure to bring along extra bottles of water. In case of a breakdown, you don’t want to get dehydrated on the interstate.

Also, don’t ever leave children or pets inside an unattended car, even if you think you’re going to be quickly running in and out of the store. Temperatures inside a car quickly skyrocket, and the risk of serious injury or death is too high. Monitoring website kidsandcars.org estimates that 16% of nontraffic fatalities involving children are due to heat stroke when kids are left alone in vehicles.

Check out this story posted by WJBC Radio with advice from Illinois State Police Master Sergeant Jason Bradley on what to do if you come across a vehicle with a pet that’s been left alone inside: bit.ly/2tSmB5O.

[Ben Boltinghouse is a public safety officer with Parkland College.]

 

3 Reasons Your Child Should Try Blogging

This summer, I will have the opportunity to teach a blogging class for middle school students at Parkland’s College for Kids. I am so excited to share my own hobby with students in the Champaign-Urbana area. Since beginning my teaching blog in 2014, it has undergone lots of changes. Some of those changes were productive, and some were merely a reflection of my indecisiveness. However, it was all part of a creative journey that I had begun, which now serves as the basis for my top three reasons your child should try blogging.

1. Cultivate Creativity
As a middle school teacher, one of the biggest hurdles I face when beginning a new school year with my students is that they lack creativity. It is hard to teach kids to be creative because it requires that they start something of their own accord—a project, an essay, a presentation, a website, a design, etc. When they don’t have any initial inspiration, it quickly becomes a game of monkey-see, monkey-do.

A blog is your child’s body of work. It is a space for them to take creative risks and test out their ideas for design, writing, and photography, all under one domain that allows for pretty immediate change whenever your young blogger sees fit. In short, it gets the creative juices flowin’, and that’s never a bad thing!

2. Reflect on the Self
Kids (and adults, if we’re all being honest) who routinely narrate their thought processes are more prone to self-reflection and self-awareness. Blogging is an avenue that kids can use to explore their perspectives. Each post is an opportunity to identify a new viewpoint or explore thoughts. It’s a chance to organize the chaos that often plagues the adolescent mind.

Best of all, rereading old posts can be an experience in itself for kids. I know it is for me! That then becomes cause-for-pause to reflect on where I used to be and where I am now, in many senses of the idea.

3. Connect with Others
While it can be scary to think about allowing middle schoolers to connect with strangers on the Internet, it can also be a way in which students widen their own perspectives. In my classroom, my students explore the idea of an echo chamber. Online, this is often referred to as a filter bubble.

The concept is basically this: Everything we know we like and agree with surrounds us and reverberates back to us on a daily basis. Online, algorithms “get to know” our online presence by keeping track of what we like and interact with, and they fill our social media accounts and even the ads on the websites we visit with more content just like that. This creates a tiny bubble that is very difficult to burst without making a conscious effort to seek other perspectives.

As a blogger, kids have access to other perspectives from anywhere in the world, which can effectively burst that filter bubble and give kids a window through which to view the stories of other cultures and more. On top of that invaluable experience, bloggers then have the opportunity to write for different and authentic audiences with a unique diversity they probably aren’t getting from their classrooms throughout the school year. Imagine the possibilities! Lastly, it provides opportunity for conversation around safe practices online, and also the development of a digital footprint, along with the space to practice safe habits routinely.

I hope you are excited by the idea of blogging for your child. I am certainly excited to be delivering such relevant content to our young writers in the area! To me, blogging is more than just a hobby. It’s a way to create, reflect, and expand my own perspective to include the stories of writers all over the world. I hope you’ll explore this class and the many others Parkland has to offer this summer. We’re looking forward to meeting you!

See you this summer!

Elizabeth Maske
College for Kids Teacher
How to Be a Blogger, Adventures in Stories and Snacks

*********

College for Kids registration is open now! Check out our classes by visiting www.parkland.edu/btceRegister. Classes will be held Monday–Thursday, June 19–29 and July 10–20. Class times are 12:45–2:45 p.m. and 3–5 p.m. Tuition for each class is $159 and includes all supplies. You can register online or in person at 1315 N. Mattis Ave., Champaign. CFK inspires students to develop a lifetime love of learning and exploration.

Questions? Call 217/353-2055.

[Terry Thies is program manager for youth education with Parkland College Business Training and Community Education.]

Art Rocks! at College For Kids

College for Kids has invited super-cool instructors to work with your kids this summer, like “Art Rocks!” instructor Kamila Glowacki. Kamila is pursuing her MA in Art Education at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where she earned her BFA in Art Education and Painting in 2013. Her drawings, paintings, prints, and sculptures have been featured at the Polish Museum of America in Chicago and local venues such as the Indi Go Artist Co-Op, the Art Theater, Common Ground Food Co-Op, and the Women’s Resource Center. And she loves getting kids excited about art! Kamila describes a bit about her work and the class below.

*************

Above: Jay Ryan poster for Polyvinyl Records’ 4-track single series. Featured image: Poster by Jay Ryan.

Over these next few days, I will be preparing screenprinted T-shirts, enamel pins, and other merchandise for an upcoming tour of the East Coast that my band is about to embark on. As an artist and musician, it has always been a fun challenge for me to design something that represents my music and put it on a shirt or CD. It’s an exciting feeling to see someone wearing something I drew!

Through this creative process, I have learned many practical skills that can be applied to artmaking as well as design. I’m excited to explore these skills with students who will soon take the “Art Rocks!” class at Parkland’s College for Kids summer enrichment camp.

In this class, we’ll design and screenprint T-shirts, create buttons, and zines, and design large-scale posters as part of the “Art Rocks!” class. As students participate, they will develop their own art skills as well as the freedom to create objects that can be duplicated and shared. Whatever T-shirt, storybook, or poster they might imagine will become an attainable item they are capable of creating themselves.

While many K-12 students have a chance to paint, draw, and sculpt, the opportunity to learn about specific artmaking methods and careers within the music industry is not likely to be found in school curricula. Throughout “Art Rocks!” we will look at the work of contemporary artists such as Jay Ryan who have made careers around concert poster or album artwork design. These encounters with contemporary artists will introduce students to the possible careers in the arts as well as encourage their interest in art and music.

I am looking forward to sharing these skills with students this summer, and I can’t wait to see what fantastic designs they create!

*********

College for Kids registration is open now! Check out our classes by visiting www.parkland.edu/btceRegister. Classes will be held Monday–Thursday, June 19–29 and July 10–20. Class times are 12:45–2:45 p.m. and 3–5 p.m. Tuition for each class is $159 and includes all supplies. You can register online or in person at 1315 N. Mattis Ave., Champaign. CFK inspires students to develop a lifetime love of learning and exploration.

Questions? Call 217/353-2055.

[Terry Thies is program manager for youth education with Parkland College Business Training and Community Education.]

 

Go ahead, get ahead.