Teaching students emergency preparedness

Students in the Minot Public Schools’ after school program have been learning about emergency preparedness thanks to a partnership between Minot State University and RSVP.

Beth Odahlen, director for the Center for Engaged Teaching and Learning, wrote a $1,500 grant that paid for purchase of 1,000 backpacks that are filled with emergency supplies. Students from the Beta Sorority and other MSU student volunteers have put on puppet shows for kids in the Community Learning Center program at different Minot elementaries, using puppets from RSVP’s Kids on the Block Program.

The grant was available through an Americorps/Campus Compact grant from Montana Campus Compact in conjunction with the 9/11 Day of Service.

“The grant’s focus was on emergency preparedness and the skit which RSVP had through Kids on the Block, and the volunteers that MSU has during NDS seemed like a great fit,” said Odahlen. “We were awarded the grant, which provided the funding for the backpacks.”

The puppet shows teach kids ways that they can be prepared in an emergency. Odahlen said the kindergarteners through third-graders seem to relate to the puppets, which are closer to them in size.

After the puppet show, children receive a backpack, which is filled with a water bottle, a small snack, a first-aid kit, a small flashlight and several information sheets about how to access emergency services, which will help adults in the household.

Odahlen said she likely doesn’t have enough backpacks to hand out to all the children in the CLC programs this fall. She hopes to write another grant to fund backpacks and resume the puppet show programs in the spring.