Saving lives, one teen at a time
By RACHEL BRANT
Bremerton Patriot Staff writer
January 22, 2009 · Updated 5:58 PM
“We have a lot of teens following up from year to year, but we’re always trying to reach new people.”
American Red Cross Volunteer Coordinator
American Red Cross to host CPR Saturday Jan. 31.
Some teenagers go to the mall to shop and hang out with friends.
But hundreds of teens will descend upon Kitsap Mall Saturday, Jan. 31 to learn lifesaving skills.
The American Red Cross will host CPR Saturday Jan. 31 at Kitsap Mall in Silverdale. The event is free to teens ages 12-18.
American Red Cross Volunteer Coordinator Kelly Finch from the West Sound Service Center said this is the seventh year the Red Cross has hosted CPR Saturday and hundreds of teenagers continue to turn out for the event each year.
“We are hoping to have a minimum of 200 teens,” he said.
Finch said about 35 volunteers taught nearly 300 teenagers CPR skills at last year’s event. The CPR certification is good for a year, so a lot of teens come year after year to keep up-to-date on their certification.
“We have a lot of teens following up from year to year, but we’re always trying to reach new people,” Finch said.
Classes will be held in selected vacant store spaces at Kitsap Mall at 8 a.m., 9:30 a.m., 11 a.m., 12:30 p.m., 2 p.m. and 3:30 p.m. Teens will watch an instructional video, practice hands-on CPR with a mannequin and then take a written test to earn their certification.
“We really make sure they got it down before we send them off to get their certification,” Finch said
Finch said it’s important to “empower” youth by teaching them lifesaving skills like CPR.
“When you give teens a chance and teach them these skills, they feel empowered,” he said.
Finch said the teens take the responsibility of learning CPR seriously because they realize they could someday save someone’s life with the skills learned at CPR Saturday.
“A lot of them take that very, very seriously,” Finch said.
He added that CPR skills are something teens can take with them anywhere. The Red Cross would like to see a large number of teens take advantage of CPR Saturday and get certified for free, according to Finch.
“It’s our goal here to have a person in every household trained in CPR,” he said.
Finch encourages people to pre-register for CPR Saturday because spots fill up quickly. To register, call (360) 478-7685 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.