Safety Zone Connection by Susan Mann

Children all over the world enjoy a good carnival. They love the rides, the games, the music, and filling their bellies with sugary treats.

Of course, here on tiny St. John there is no room for a Ferris wheel or carousel. Not to worry. As any one who has ever been a part of the St. John Festival will tell you, the children of St. John enjoy themselves at this time of year. Besides, it’s the beginning of summer vacation and the next school year seems far away.

When I was growing up in West Virginia there was no dollar taxi or VITRAN. Nor did my family own a car. The only social events us kids could be a part of were church related. Church members gave us rides to church camp, vacation bible school, and other church-sponsored events.

To this very day, these past efforts are much appreciated. However, on at least two occasions my parents did find a way for us to go to a traveling carnival when it came to town. Looking back on it, I wish we had gone as a family, but that was not to be.

Will your family be enjoying a few of the St. John Festival events together? Will you be cheering your children on at the Children’s Village? Nothing pleases a child more than having a parent close by to watch over their success or applaud a best effort. You might even want to play a few games with them.

Keeping up with children can be a real challenge. This is especially true when there is only one parent at home.

When I was a little girl there used to be an announcement on television each night at the same time. This was way back in the day when there were only three channels to watch. Every television viewer across the entire mainland heard the following announcement: “It’s 10 o’clock — do you know where your children are?”

It may sound silly now, but those of us who have children know we sometimes get busy and need a little reminder. People made innocent jokes about that announcement, but no one ever seemed offended. Things haven’t changed that much. When it’s 10 o’clock we still need to know where our children are.

One of my very favorite things about carnival events here in the Virgin Islands is the parade, especially the floats. There is so much work and team effort that goes into a float. There are no floats in the stateside carnivals.

Hopefully, The Safety Zone will have one in the parade next year. Hint: volunteers and ideas to help with next year’s float are welcome.

This small agency does enjoy being a part of community activities. Staff have been busy meeting with school personnel, doing presentations for parents, and joining in with folks up at the clinic at a recent health fair.

The multiple service needs of St. John family members who are in abusive, or potentially abusive living situations is at the very heart and soul of The Safety Zone mission. The people who work here welcome the chance to assist family members with making positive changes.

Each person who walks through the door deserves respect, caring, and access to advocacy, education and counseling. Once we see new ways to make improvements in our lives and our world view, we have a new gift to pass on to our children, and grandchildren.

Feel free to call Nancy Lewis at 693-7233 for more information or just to ask a few questions. If your company, office, church or other organization would like someone from The Safety Zone to give a presentation about our mission and services please let us know.

Finally, if you feel your living situation is not safe, or feel at risk of immediate physical violence, call The Safety Zone immediately. The number to call after 6 p.m. is 690-7233. The staff and Board of Directors of The Safety Zone wish all St. John families a safe and fun carnival season!