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Ollie The Otter Safety Program Visiting Cannon County

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From left, Ollie the Otter, TTU Intern Kristian Goff, student, Lt. Brad Hall, and Deputy Reed Bryson.
The Ollie the Otter Booster Seat and Seat Belt Safety Program is coming to Cannon County. We will be visiting West Side Elementary School on October 12 at 1:00 p.m. and Woodland Elementary School on November 16 at 10:00 a.m.

Seat Belt Safety Advocates will be presenting to grades Pre-K through Fourth grade. The presentation teaches the students the Tennessee booster seat law and how to properly wear a seat belt.

The Ollie the Otter Booster Seat and Seat Belt Safety Program has visited several schools already in Cannon County. We visited Auburn School on September 21 with 70 students in attendance, staff, and several volunteers. Volunteers included Lt. Hall, Deputy Moss, TTU Intern Kristian Goff, student Matthew Thomas, and other staff members and students.

We visited Short Mountain Elementary School on September 25 with 75 students in attendance, staff, and several volunteers. Volunteers include Lt. Hall, Deputy Bryson, TTU Intern Kristian Goff, student Brandon Ferrell, and other staff members and students.

We visited Woodbury Grammar School on September 25 with 266 students in attendance, staff, and several volunteers. Volunteers included Lt. Hall, Deputy Moss, TTU Intern Kristian Goff, student Brandon Aycock, and other staff members and students.

We also visited East Side School on September 28 with 71 students in attendance, staff, and several volunteers. Volunteers included TTU Intern Kristian Goff, student Madison Duke, and other staff members and students.

The program is sponsored by the Tennessee Transportation Development Foundation (TTDF) – a non-profit group established by the Tennessee Road Builders Association – and the TRBA Ladies Auxiliary. The statewide safety education program will make presentations in all 95 counties in Tennessee this year.

The Ollie Otter program communicates that Tennessee state law requires the use of a booster seat until a child is 4-feet-9 inches tall or 9 years old. An orange and white construction site barrel, representing Ollie’s home, is on display to teach the children the importance of roadway safety near construction work zones.

The fully-costumed Ollie Otter character encourages children to wear their seatbelts and educates them about Tennessee’s booster seat law.

“Our goal is to try to educate children through the Ollie Otter program about Tennessee’s child restraint law,” said Carol Coleman, chairperson of the TTDF.

“Hopefully, children will encourage their caregivers, or whoever is driving them around, to make better safety decisions.”

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, in 2005, an average of five children ages 14 and younger were killed and 640 were injured in motor vehicle crashes every day. The use of booster seats compared to the use of adult seatbelts alone lowers the risk of injury to children in crashes by 59 percent.

The Ollie Otter program is implemented by a network of statewide volunteers who work through the Tennessee Tech University BusinessMedia Center in Cookeville to coordinate the presentations. The unprecedented educational safety campaign was launched last May.

“Through the use of emerging business technologies, we’re able to train volunteers online how to go into elementary schools and promote roadway safety through the entertaining Ollie Otter character,” said Julie Brewer, program coordinator with the TTU BusinessMedia Center.

“We are so grateful for the wonderful network of concerned volunteers who are really the ones making this campaign possible.”

To prepare volunteers to conduct the in-school presentations and perform as the costumed Ollie Otter, an online training course has been developed by the TTU BusinessMedia Center through the Tennessee Board of Regents Online Continuing Education program. ROCE hosts the online course and certifies the completion of the class.

The Ollie Otter program uses educational materials, such as posters, bookmarks and an interactive Web site, to inform Tennessee children and their caregivers about seatbelt safety. To sign up as a volunteer, schedule a visit from Ollie, or learn more about Tennessee’s booster seat and seatbelt safety campaign, visit www.seatbeltvolunteer.org.
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