Ideas to Give Back to Your Community This Holiday Season

The holidays bring out the spirit of giving, making it the perfect time to focus on giving back to your community.

Sure, it’s great to drop change into a Red Cross bucket or donate to a charity, but giving your time to local community initiatives has many added benefits. First, you make connections with neighbors in your community. Second, you can hone your talents from volunteering your skills to a cause. Most importantly, you’ll see positive changes in the people and places in your community.

Try giving the gift of your time this holiday season with one of these awesome ideas:

Animals

Arts

Community Advocacy

Children

 

Environment

  • Organize a trash clean up in your neighborhood
  • Start an indoor community garden
  • Grow fruits and vegetables for your neighbors
  • If possible, take public transportation to work
  • Volunteer for park cleanup or restoration work
  • Serving at a recycling facility
  • Teach environmental preservation skills to members of your community:
  • Volunteer for a climate advocacy group

Hunger and Homelessness

  • Help at a food pantry
  • Gather supplies from your neighbors to give to a homeless shelter
  • Offer outings to your neighbors in homeless shelters
  • Serve meals at homeless shelters
  • Teach skills classes to your neighbors in homeless shelters
  • Repair clothing for neighbors in homeless shelters

Senior Citizens

 

One of these fantastic ways to give back may suit well as a new Holiday tradition in your family. But remember,  although the Holiday Season is a popular time to give back to your community, you can help out all year round.

 

Visit gscsafety.org to find more public service opportunities in your community.  

How To Dress Your Child For the Colder Weather

As the cold winds start to blow in, children are exposed to an increased risk of health issues. The common cold can quickly turn to more serious ailments when left unchecked. Protect your child’s immune system by dressing them appropriately for the weather–even if they do not want to.

 

Layering

The weather changes a lot in the fall. Windows are covered in frost and you can see your breath in the air each morning, but the sun is often shining in the afternoon. So if little Johnny is sent to school in a jacket and t-shirt, he might be comfortable in the morning, but by the afternoon, he’ll shed that jacket and don just a t-shirt. It may be too hot for a jacket, but fall weather – even on the best afternoons – isn’t often t-shirt weather.

 

The best way to make sure your child will never be too hot or cold is to dress them in layers. This will allow them to regulate themselves throughout the day. A good rule of thumb is to dress your child in one extra layer from what you as an adult would need. Their bodies are smaller and retain less heat, therefore need extra protection. Learn the art of layering appropriately here.

Backup Clothes

When sending kids to school, their clothing options are limited to what you provide. If they get wet or their clothes get ruined, what are they to do? The best thing is to be prepared. Especially with younger ones who play more recklessly, put a change of clothes and extra cold weather gear like mittens and a hat in their locker at school. Also, do not forget to replenish the stash if an article of clothing finds its way home or ends up lost.

 

Look For The Right Gear

As you probably already know from experience, children do not wear clothes that are difficult to put on. If you want your child to wear cold weather gear, find jackets that zip up easy, gloves or mittens that go on without help, and a hat that actually covers their ears. Little feet need extra TLC too; buy heavy, non-cotton socks and waterproof boots to prevent feet from getting wet or cold.

 

These tips will help you keep your child safe and warm as the cold weather settles in. The last thing you need is a sick child or a run-in with frostbite. Help your friends protect their children by sharing this article!

 

The Grand Opening of the First Community OutPost

The Grand Opening of the First Community OutPost

The Community OutPost has been an ongoing project for the Greater St. Cloud Public Safety Foundation. We’ve been anticipating the opening of the OutPost all summer, and on August 18th, we were very happy to celebrated the grand opening of our first (and hopefully not last) Community OutPost!

An estimated 500 people from the community attended our grand opening. There were a ton of kids participating in activities such as face painting, playing on blow up obstacle courses, dunking cops in a dunk tanks, and playing basketball. Kids were also able to explore inside first responder vehicles and try on the gear they wear.

The event started off with a ceremony in which we took the time to honor all the hard work that made this event possible. There was a handing of the key, representing the official opening of the Community OutPost. Several public officials came in support of the new Community OutPost including Tom Emmer and St. Cloud Mayor Dave Klies.

Moving forward, the Community OutPost house will host more events and programs for people around the community. Community members who attended the event brought things from our Target gift registry to help the COP House with future events. It is now open and staffed regularly. If you are in the area, feel free to stop on in!

 

Five Clever Ways to Keep Kids Safe This Summer

The joys of outdoor play in the summer can make your kids feel carefree, but sometimes all that freedom can cross the fine line into careless. Dangers come in many forms when your kids are spending so much extra time outdoors. These clever ways to keep kids safe this summer will help you navigate your child’s desires without the danger.

Wear Bright Colors When Biking

We know to wear a helmet and even elbow or knee pads when biking, but often it is not enough. Accidents involving bikes are commonly an issue with motorists not seeing the bicyclists, not bicyclists being dangerous. You can protect your kids from this by dressing them in brightly colored clothes when they are biking. Especially since kids are small and can easily be blocked from view by a large vehicle’s dashboard, putting your kids in neon orange or green can really help keep them safe!


Sunscreen Sticks

Another modern safety invention which can protect your child from sunburn is the sunscreen stick. These sticks apply like lip balm and can be used for any hard to reach areas of your kid’s skin. They work especially well for the face! They are safer than sunscreen spray because spray actually requires you to rub in the solution after spraying it on. Since most parents skip rubbing in the sunscreen, kids still end up getting burnt. Using a sunscreen stick can keep kids safe from the sun’s hot rays this summer.


Buy New Life Jackets

Traditional style life jackets can be uncomfortable for kids as they scrunch towards their neck when swimming. Modern styles of life jackets are only tight around the arms and are much more comfortable for children to swim in. This style is often called a “puddle jumper,” but you can find ones that are coast guard approved for use in deep water and on boats. Staying safe at the lake or pool means your kid should always wear a life jacket. The best way to get your kid to agree to this safety measure is to buy a life jacket they actually like!


Bubble Bath Time

Nightly baths often fall by the wayside this time of year, but they are just as important as ever! During the nightly bubble bath, inspect your child for ticks to protect them from contracting lyme disease and other ailments spread by the little buggers. You should also cleanse sensitive areas with clean water to prevent infections from granules of sand in their crevices and hair. Keeping them clean can also be keeping them safe!


Bonfire Boundaries

We love to enjoy an evening bonfire in the summer, but what about the kids? Protect them from the dangers of fire by laying a boundary for them to understand how far away from flames they need to stay. Try using a rope or garden hose around the fire pit to outline where the kids will be safe and where they might not.

Staying safe with the kids this summer is important! Activities outside can bring danger, but with a few simple steps, you won’t have to cut back on the fun. Protect the kids from sun, fire, water, bugs, and accidents by taking some of the precautions outlined here. Stay tuned to the Greater St. Cloud Public Safety Foundation’s Facebook page for fun upcoming events and more safety tips.

An Update on the Community OutPost House

One of our most exciting endeavors is the construction of the Community OutPost House; a facility that will serve as a hub for neighborhood police officers, a community gathering space, and a center for various community-based programs and activities. Construction began in November and is nearing completion as we approach spring.

The Community OutPost model is based on a similar program in Racine, WI, which brings positive influences into troubled neighborhoods with the goal to assess the area residents’ needs and help provide a stabilizing force. The COP House gives the possibility of after school programs, human services and wellness programs, and Campus Police Services, (among others) in the area. The COP House will be a location for The Greater St. Cloud Public Safety Foundation to carry out our mission: to be the leading advocate of public safety in the Greater St. Cloud region.

Ernie Wollak from Wollak Construction has been overseeing the construction project and has been impressed by the level of community support for this project. “It’s amazing how the community has come together. Whenever you ask, they just come and give. It’s really amazing how this project has just taken off.” See more details on construction from Ernie on our  Facebook Videos page.

Sgt. Luke Dingman of the St. Cloud Police will be one of five officers assigned to the facility. In an article featured on WJON’s Giving Tuesday series, he comments: “Their job is to assist with figuring out what the community needs, what the people living in and around that area need, and to work on programming for them to build a relationship between the police department, the city, and the community.”

The Foundation has received $50,000 from the Rotary Club of St. Cloud and $25,000 in matching funds. Plus, members of our community are happily volunteering hours and in-kind support for the construction of the house. You can donate here to be a part of the movement, or read the St.Cloud Times article for more information or to see a video of the demolition of the previous structure. Mayor Kleis of St. Cloud even named this project as one of the positive highlights of 2016 for the city’s well-being.

We are touched by the support from the Greater St. Cloud community–both from the heart and from the pocket–to make this facility a reality. We look forward to opening the COP House doors very soon!

 

Top 5 Reasons to Pursue a Career in Public Safety

We often hear about how challenging it is to work in a public safety occupation. It is sometimes very physically and emotionally demanding. TV shows and movies often depict police officers as neglecting their families or never having enough time for their spouses. What we don’t hear enough are the reasons why so many people choose to pursue a career as an EMT, firefighter, police officer, or other public service roles. There are lots of rewarding reasons to pursue a career in the public realm, but here are our Top 5.

It’s More Than a Steady Paycheck

Most of us believe that public safety personnel don’t get paid enough for their incredible service, but most departments offer competitive salaries. Many public servants are the primary breadwinners in their family. Wages can vary based on the time of a shift, years of experience, and additional training. Promotions are also possible as your career continues!

Job Satisfaction

What you’ll probably hear most from those who work in public safety is how rewarding their job is on a daily basis. They are actively involved in the community and can see the impact they are making. They have ample opportunities to help people in need and even save lives!

Stellar Benefits

In addition to sustainable pay, public safety occupations enjoy some of the best health benefits for themselves and their families. Another big benefit that comes later is retirement. Many individuals are offered retirement after 20 or 25 years of service due to the demands of their job. Some retirement packages accrue at higher rates than most careers offer, meaning these great benefits come sooner for public safety employees.

A Fun and Exciting Place to Work

Getting into the public sector doesn’t necessarily mean you’re stuck with a boring desk job. Many public safety jobs, like law enforcement and firefighting, are an adventure each and every day!

Continued Growth Throughout a Career

Several public safety careers offer continuing education, training, and ways to challenge yourself to grow both personally and professionally. You could even consider training to join the SWAT, VOTF, investigation, or other specialty teams.

 

Are you interested in learning more about a career in public safety? Join us at the free local Public Safety Career Fair on April 29th at St. Cloud State University to ask questions, gain insight from hands-on demonstrations, and make connections with local colleges! Free

pizza and soda will be served, so stop by!