Class shows kids how to handle being home alone

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June 19, 2009
— Staying home alone for the first time can be scary.

At 8 or 9 years old, a child might not know what to do when someone knocks on the door or the phone rings.

Evansville High School senior Ann O’Leary remembers those days. To teach area kids what to do, she’s offering four free “Safely Home Alone” workshops throughout the area.

“I wish I would have had something like this,” she said.

The two-hour workshops are for kids entering third through fifth grade and will be held in Evansville, Orfordville and Albany starting June 30. Registration is required by Saturday, June 27.

Kids will learn how to answer the door and phone, what to do in an emergency, how to entertain themselves and what to eat that’s healthy, O’Leary said.

“It’s kind of the basics about staying home alone and ways to be safe,” she said.

O’Leary, 17, is conducting the workshops as part of her leadership project for 4-H in the Evansville club. She heard about a similar class offered at Fort Memorial Hospital in Fort Atkinson and thought it would be a cool project to replicate.

She attended the hospital’s course and then modeled her own workshop.

“I saw how it worked. I took it from there,” she said.

She plans to make the class a fun, interactive session by first teaching the key points, then letting the kids practice things such as answering the phone.

“Then the first time they are home alone, it’s not strange to them,” she said.

Bonus: There will be food.

O’Leary’s planning healthy snack examples such as ants on a log.

The project is just one of many this summer for O’Leary, who is deeply involved in 4-H and has an endless list of school activities. She shows Jersey cattle and owns two Holsteins. In addition to the many 4-H project’s she’s a part of, she’s the junior superintendent of child development and clothing.

When she’s not playing volleyball or basketball, being the drum major in the band or attending FFA meetings, she’s working on some other school club such as student council.

O’Leary enjoys working with kids and is excited to teach the workshops.

“It’s just a fun, educational workshop for kids to really practice what they’re going to do when they’re home alone,” she said.

What: “Safely Home Alone” workshops for kids entering third to fifth grade. The workshops are designed to educate kids on how to be safe while unattended for a short time. Kids will learn how to answer the phone and door, how to respond in an emergency and different ways to safely entertain themselves.
When/where: 9 to 11 a.m. Tuesday, June 30, at St. John’s Lutheran Church, Evansville; 1 to 3 p.m. Tuesday, June 30, at Farmers & Merchants Bank, Orfordville; 6 to 8 p.m. Wednesday, July 8, at St. John’s Lutheran Church, Evansville; 6 to 8 p.m. Tuesday, July 14, at the Albertson Memorial Library, Albany.

Cost: Free.

To registerRegistration is required so that enough educational materials, goodie bags and snacks can be provided. Call Ann O’Leary at (608) 882-5900 before Saturday, June 27. Enrollment is limited to 15 children per workshop.
Why: Ann O’Leary, a senior at Evansville High School and junior leader in the 4-H Child Development project, has been preparing this workshop for several months and modeled it after similar workshops that charge a fee. Adult supervision will be provided.

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