Children learn about the agency and ways to make themselves safer

By Tim Hoyle DLA Disposition Services

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Children of Defense Logistics Agency employees in Battle Creek gathered at the Hart-Dole –Inouye Federal Center April 26 to learn more about how their parents serve the nation’s warfighters and also learned about protecting themselves during Bring Your Child to Work Day.

“We are going to have a great time,” said Morale Welfare and Recreation’s Family Support Manager Lisa Grenon as she welcomed the guests. “We are so glad you are here.”

The day’s events began with a group photo as the children lined up to form the letters D-L-A in the historic Champion Street Lobby. Next they went off in teams to compete in a scavenger hunt around the facilities. Third and fourth graders assembled picture puzzles to determine where to go. Fifth and sixth graders had to decode their clues while the older participants had to solve riddles. Along the way they collected flags to earn points for the locations they found. After the hunt, half of the children would watch a cyberbullying presentation from Attorney General’s Office while the others went outside for the Chalk the Walk event.

“When we are on the Internet we can sometimes say things we wouldn’t in person,” said Suzy Khoury, a public speaker from the Michigan Attorney General’s Office.

Khoury guided the children through the main points of the state’s Cyber Safety Initiative such as always asking a parent or other trusted adult before going online. She encouraged them to think of Internet as a big city “where some parts are safe, but others are not.” Keeping away from risky places online was one of the “three keys” stressed along with keeping safe and telling a trusted adult whenever they encounter something suspicious or uncomfortable. The presentation also included a video message from Michigan Attorney General Bill Schute that encourages children “to always be kind and treat others online like you would like to be treated.”

After lunch with their parents, children received a lesson in sign language from the Equal Employment Opportunity Office staff followed by first aid training from the Medical Response Team. The medical training gave kids the chance to learn how to help someone who might be injured, apply pressure dressings, slings and the Heimlich maneuver.

For the last activity, the children were joined by employees and others for a stroll along the sidewalks surrounding the Federal Center for a Walk for Child Abuse Awareness. A special guest walker was Battle Creek Mayor Mark Behnke who said how important the subject was for the citizens of Battle Creek before he declared the walk underway. Along the route the walkers were able to enjoy the chalk drawings and awareness messages chalked onto the sidewalks by the children during the Chalk the Walk activity.

Sexual Assault Response Coordinator Robin Rogers said prevention and awareness of cyberbullying and child abuse are important topics for the individual, family and community, “but the more we can talk about them the better it will be.”

Participants, young and old alike, received pinwheels to place in the ground. Pinwheels are seen as a symbol of a carefree childhood. Before everyone departed for the day, Grenon thanked those who participated and told the parents picking them up “we had an amazing day.”