Kyndall Mckinney leads a group in their toy cars as they learn about road rules during Safety Town this week at Officer Bob Gentry Park in Hamilton. GREG LYNCH / STAFF

Hamilton’s Safety Town still teaching lessons after 45 years

More than 25 youngsters were going through several exercises this past week designed to help them learn how to avoid danger and to protect themselves when it presents itself.

The program was designed to help teach 4- and 5-year-olds about gun, vehicle, household, street, school bus and fire safety, as well as lessons on dealing with strangers, according to Kim Wentz, director of the Hamilton Safety Council.

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Kyndall Mckinney and Lucas Green were among the youngsters under the watchful eye of Hamilton police officer Kristy Collins as they negotiated their way around the paved mini-city at Officer Bob Gentry Park, complete with stop signs, crosswalks and other obstacles they may encounter each day in the city.

Safety Town draws children not only from Hamilton, but also from all over Butler County, according to Collins.

“The participation level has been high. We also get great volunteers to come and help us teach the kids,” she said.

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According to the National Safety Town Center, in 1937 the initiative was founded in Mansfield, Ohio, by policeman Frend Boals and expanded into a comprehensive safety education program by Bedford, Ohio, nursery school teacher Dorothy Chlad in 1964.

The Hamilton program was one of the first developed in the nation, according to Wentz, a retired member of the Hamilton Fire Department.

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The program is sponsored by the Hamilton Community Foundation, Greater Hamilton Safety Council and funded by the Lindenwald Kiwanis, City of Hamilton and the Officer Bob Gentry Memorial Fund Committee.

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