This past Friday at the Bell Tower we witnessed an adult who had asked children for help, offering money and toys in exchange for their ‘help’. He approached the Bell Tower gathering with 3 little ones, between the ages of 5 and 8 and two beer cans in his hands. He stayed only long enough for the kids to receive their prize tickets for our weekly draw – before he had left those children behind. Sound safe?
We called after him “you can’t leave your children here!”. When he responded, he said “I don’t know those kids, they just followed me here” and proceeded to walk away from our crowd. At this point, we had a conundrum and 3 little ones we had no guardian for, or relationship with. Luckily, the kids lived within a few blocks of the bell tower and several Bell Tower volunteers walked each child to their homes/guardians and informed them of the situation. One of the grannies even came back to the Bell Tower and now knows that the whole family is welcome to come on Fridays, especially when issues of safety need community involvement or support. Once we had returned the Bell Tower and the children were safe, the stranger was gone and the guardians knew what was up…we had our own conversation.
We talked about how the issue of child safety is critical and it is necessary for us to educate our children about STRANGER DANGER, which is why that is the theme of our next bell tower. We are going to be inviting parents to come down and talk about strategies we can use as a community to keep our children safe from dangers. If you know of any resources that can help, please let us know, or if you yourself are concerned about this issue and want to be a part of the solution, you are invited to join us. i checked online for some child-friendly stranger danger resources, and found these colouring book pages on a site called Free For Kids that actually has several PDF files as resources to educate kids about keeping their children safe.