WMU-Cooley Children's Law Society welcomes public to summer safety event



by Cynthia Price
Legal News

Western Michigan University-Cooley Law School’s Children’s Law Society had multiple reasons for inviting children and their families to a safety event Monday night.

First, the society’s vice-President and WMU-Cooley student Jada Manggrum said, is the obvious reason: to inform them about how to stay safe during months when most spend a lot more time outdoors.

As President Demar L. Sheffey explained, they also wanted to foster respect for law enforcement and firefighters. “Kids often don’t see firefighters and police officers. They serve us and protect us, and they’re the ones we call when things go south,” Sheffey said, “so we want to give the kids a chance to get to know them so they’ll respect them more.”

But, he added, another motivation was to expose the children and families to law school so they consider both the law and law enforcement as possible careers.

Young Avery Amponsah, who is in first grade at New Branches School, said she wants to be a lawyer and a police officer when she grows up. Her mother commented, “I’m so glad they had this. We have so many negative perceptions in the community, and I want my children not to start out with those kinds of feelings.”

The turnout was a little lighter than the society, also represented by Social Chair Millicent Southern, expected, based on having gotten the word out far and wide.

 They decided to skip some of the planned indoor activities, though families were still fed pizza and pop. The kids were delighted to head outdoors and tour the impressive rescue vehicle across the street.

Attending from the 38 LaGrave Fire Station were Lt. Don Van Dyke, driver John Kurkowski, and firefighters Mike Myers and Dave Fountain. The unit covers much of the city and is housed in a 1911 building that is still the fire department’s largest.

Fountain explained that employees there do water, vehicle, and confined space rescue, as well as fighting fires. “It’s all about teamwork,” he commented.

The Grand Rapids Fire Department website offers some additional fire safety activities available at http://grcity.us/fire-department/Pages/Fire-Safety-for-Kids.aspx.

The WMU-Cooley Children’s Law Society mentors and tutors young children, and reads to them in schools, as  noted in the 4/8/15 issue of Grand Rapids Legal News. The society’s Facebook page has as its profile photo a quote: “Children are great imitators. So give them something great to imitate.”