Protecting Our Kids: It Takes A Village
Orlando is full of surprises. Sometimes these surprises can be right under our noses or in
this case, right next door. I had heard of The Children's Safety Village and had even had
the opportunity to speak with Brent E. Moore, Executive Director of the organization
in the past. However, a wrong turn led me to parking lot of the non profit organization that
I was surprised to learn where it actually was. Located at 910 Fairvilla Road, "next door" to the Orlando Fairgrounds is a nondescript metal building that at first glance would not begin to display the many incredible surprises that happen at the village every day. One main surprise includes the “miniature city” which is a one-of-a-kind child-size “village” is built on an eight acre site and includes nine miniature buildings with paved sidewalks, streets, a functioning traffic light, crosswalk signals, a railroad crossing and lights.
The Children’s Safety Village caters to preventing children injuries and fatalities through lifesaving education and first-hand experience. To make it even simpler, the organization is literally saving lives! In my visit with Mr. Moore, I learned that "black and brown babies have a higher propensity for drowning incidents and accidents than anyone else." Mr. Moore continued to let me know that limited opportunities to learn how to swim combined with the proximity to many bodies of water including lakes and pools that we have in Florida is the root cause of the issue. The organization receives grants which in turn translates into scholarships to make it accessible to more parents with children as young as 6 months old to learn how to save themselves if they fall into a body of water. Swim lessons are offered on sight at the facility's water safety complex which features an indoor heated pool which allows them to offer lessons year-round. Classes or even available for special needs children.
In addition to the swim lessons, The Children's Safety Village also offers programs that focus onFire Safety, Pedestrian Safety, Gun Safety, Internet Safety, Bike & Helmet Safety, Poison
Prevention Program and more. The Fire Safety Program features a two-story Fire Safety
House that includes a living room, kitchen, and bedroom where children learn methods of exit, how to avoid hazards such as the fireplace, pots on the kitchen stove, electric heaters, and practice to “fall and crawl” in the event of smoke and fire - led by trained professionals from partners with the Orange County Fire Rescue and Orlando Police Department. The Occupant Safety Program focuses on providing Car Seat and Child Passenger Safety information and car seat installation services. Mr. Moore states that the Village served over 6,000 people last year which was an increase from prior years primarily due to addition of virtual classes.
I would be remiss if I didn't chat with Mr. Moore about our shared experiences as black men
running non profit organizations. I asked him what Black History Month meant to him. He
shared with me that Black History Month is a time to reflect on the accomplishments of Black
men and women that have done incredible things for this community, this country and the world. He hopes to one day be listed among those others as someone that did something incredible.