However, on rare occasions, we are given the opportunity to see the impact of our work. I had the privilege of teaching a young boy named Andre at his school, Lynn Thigpen Elementary, last week. I remember Andre was really excited about learning how to stop, drop, and roll during our fire safety class. He was full of energy and had an answer for every question I asked. He was simply one of those kids that a program instructor remembers.
That weekend, while volunteering with Team Firestopper, I was surprised to see Andre again! My team was doing in-home fire safety visits in Joliet, IL and I walked right into Andre’s house. He stood up, walked toward me and smiled. “I know you,” he said happily. Now, one of the many things we teach our students is how to identify fire safety hazards in their own home. Andre wanted to show me just how hard he’d worked on his “Hazard Hunt.” He walked me through every room in his house, telling me about the candles that he had his parents move away from the curtains and the lint trap in the dryer that he cleans out (just in case). Andre was so proud of how hard he worked and I was proud of him, too. As I went to leave, Andre handed me a copy of his class picture. He only had a few left… one for his grandma, and one for me.
Sometimes as program instructors we begin to wonder if what we teach really sticks with any of our students. Well, Andre was proof to me that the American Red Cross’ Safe Families Program is making a difference. So, thank you Andre, and thank you to all of the students, schools, and communities that are helping us save lives!” – Megan McCarthy