JDHS volunteers learn how to save lives

Posted: Friday, January 28, 2005

Some Juneau-Douglas High School students have applied to be American Red Cross volunteers and teach fire safety in the elementary schools.

Fourteen students in Interact, a community-service club affiliated with Rotary, met with American Red Cross of Alaska officials this week.

The students will learn the basics of fire safety from the agency's publications, but it's up to them to figure out how to interest children, said Seth Heuiser, an Americorps member who works with the American Red Cross of Alaska in Anchorage.

Interact raises funds for the Glory Hole homeless shelter, sings carols at the Juneau Pioneers' Home and helps out at Rotary events, among other activities. This is the first time its members will have the responsibility of a service project that can save lives, said club adviser Dixie Weiss.

"They will have to have rehearsals and learn what they're going to say before showing up in that classroom with bright, rosy faces," she said.

Janelle Quimpo, Interact's president, said the students wanted to "help out with the little kids."

"We like to accept new ideas every year," said Interact member Tindu Daniel.

The Interact students are the first high school volunteers in Juneau for the American Red Cross of Alaska, said Elayne Boyce, who manages the Southeast district.

"They're already into volunteering and they're looking for projects, so hopefully this is something they can get passionate about," Boyce said.

Daniel, who said she has presented tobacco-awareness programs in the middle schools, said the key is to be enthusiastic and creative.

The students intend to create their presentations next month and then market them to school principals.

Heuiser, who presents disaster education programs in Anchorage, offered a few suggestions on teaching young children.

Telling children not to panic doesn't tell them what to do, he said.

"Little kids don't like to be told what not to do. They like to be guided in what to do," Heuiser said.

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