Some participants in Shelby Safety Town pose for a photo at Dowds Elementary School on June 7. Because of rain that afternoon, activities were brought indoors, including practicing crossing a street.

SHELBY -- Shelby Safety Town is underway at Dowds Elementary School this week.

"We are hosting about 150 students this week as I opened up Safety Town to the ingoing first-graders and incoming kindergarteners," said Anne Finn, Safety Town director for Shelby City Schools. 
"Because of COVID, last year we weren't able to hold it so we have twice as many students," she said on Monday.
Safety Town is a community safety education program for students typically entering kindergarten. 
"We are hitting some hard topics that sometimes parents don't talk to their students about," Finn said.
"With the help of the Shelby Police Department, we've added gun safety," Finn said. "We have stranger danger. We also talked about good touch, bad touch."
Safety Town is also working with CACY (Community Action for Capable Youth), the organization in Mansfield. 
"We have also added drug and medicine safety, along with the typical pedestrian safety of how to cross the street and look both ways," Finn said. "We talk about bus safety. We meet firemen, police officers, sheriffs and State Patrol."
Safety Town runs June 7-June 11 at Dowds. 
"Throughout the whole week, we have 150 kids a day," Finn said. "So we have about 90 in the morning, and 60 in the afternoon."
The youngsters are from Shelby, plus Sacred Heart and St. Mary, Finn said. "We also have a couple from Crestview," she said, adding that somebody with Texas ties was traveling in to attend Shelby Safety Town, too.
"I opened it up to communities all around because it is an important program," Finn said.
The cost is $15 per student with the fee including an entire week of activities. 
"Each student gets a T-shirt to go along with it, and then they also go home with a group picture and an individual picture," Finn said.
People interested in having their youngsters attend can stop by Dowds at the start of a session. The morning group is from 9.a.m. to 11 a.m. and the afternoon group is from noon to 2 p.m., Finn said.

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