Michigan Medicine receives gift to bolster pop-up Safety Town program

April 7, 2021  //  FOUND IN: News
Five children receive safety training.
Children participate in Safety Town prior to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Michigan Medicine is partnering with AAA and the Auto Club Group Foundation for the first time to provide safety training for children who might otherwise not receive it.

The Auto Club Group, the second largest AAA club in North America, is donating $14,500 to Michigan Medicine for its Pop-Up Safety Town program for the 2021-22 school year. The free injury prevention events are offered to students in Michigan Head Start, an early childhood education development program for low-income families.

“The weekly safety programs that various school districts offer may not be available to Head Start students in many communities,” said Andrew Hashikawa, M.D., a pediatric emergency physician at Michigan Medicine. “We believe growing this educational program will help close the gap in a public health disparity for our youngest citizens and families.”

The gift will allow Michigan Medicine to host several pop-up events in Detroit, Flint and Ypsilanti Head Start centers, which have attracted as many as 200 attendees in the past. It will also fund program supplies, including bike helmets, car seats, safety coloring books and crayons.

The event is run by volunteer emergency medicine staff, university students and local safety and public health stakeholders.

While there is no schedule for Pop-Up Safety Town yet, Hashikawa said the rising vaccination rate brings the promise of in-person programming.

“The more families we can reach by expanding Pop-Up Safety Town in communities and school districts that usually do not have access to injury prevention programming, the more children will receive essential knowledge and tools they need to be safe as they begin school,” Hashikawa said. “Our program seeks to prevent injuries by focusing on preschool children, so they have opportunities to learn and develop good safety habits early in life.”

The gift was made possible thanks to an introduction made by Kim Ross, chief government relations officer for Michigan Medicine.