Seventy kindergarten students at Santa Clarita Elementary School had the chance to meet 14 of Santa Clarita’s community service professionals at their annual Community Helper Day on Friday.
“This gives the kids an opportunity to see a huge variety of different community helpers,” said Susan DeLeon, the event’s organizer.
The event allowed “community helpers,” including firefighters, law enforcement officers and others who serve the community, a chance to give students hands-on demonstrations about how they each do their part and to help the children learn how various aspects of the community work.
“It’s actually part of our curriculum,” kindergarten teacher Monica Rodriguez said. “We’ve been studying community helpers for the past few weeks, so now they actually get to see them personally and learn a little bit more about them and what they do.”
Groups of five students rotated through stations and had the opportunity to speak with each “community helper” about their duties, ask questions and explore some of their vehicles.
Five-year-old Jasen Shafer whispered, “This is awesome,” as fellow transitional kindergartner Jillian Stieff was hoisted into the city of Santa Clarita Public Works’ boom truck bucket.
Public Works officials also had street signs on display to teach students what they mean.
“We were looking forward to being a part of this, especially when it comes to the kids,” Public Works staffer Armando Becerra said. “We focus on the signs that the kids can recognize, so they can remember the important ones.”
Valerie Ferchaw used photos to educate students on how Santa Clarita Urban Forestry decides what trees can be saved.
“I think it’s important for kids to recognize that the trees don’t just appear and that it really takes proper care every year for these trees to be safe,” Ferchaw said.
California Highway Patrol Officer Josh Greengard certified students as “junior officers” by asking them to identify parts of his uniform and patrol car, as well as asking when the appropriate time to call 911 is.
American Medical Response emergency medical technicians splinted students’ arms and demonstrated how to use their gurneys, while nearby, city of Santa Clarita Graffiti Removal specialists helped students power wash their chalk “graffiti” off the asphalt.
“It’s all worth it to see the smiles on their faces,” DeLeon said.