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Canton kids to learn to treat gunshot wounds to save lives from escalating violence among teens

WOIO Cleveland logo WOIO Cleveland 5 days ago Michelle Nicks
Canton kids learn to treat gunshot wounds to save lives from escalating violence among teens © Provided by WOIO Cleveland Canton kids learn to treat gunshot wounds to save lives from escalating violence among teens

CANTON, Ohio (WOIO) - An innovative and somewhat unusual program this summer at four Canton area parks will teach kids how to treat gunshot wounds.

The basic first aid training for children as young as six years old is a new program in response to an increase in gun violence where children and teens have become victims in some cases, and suspects in others.

Reverend Don Ackerman is the pastor at Crossroads United Methodist Church, and the Executive Director of the non-profit, Canton for All People, “I think we have three guns to every person on our street, but, a lot of the neighborhoods don’t have grocery stores, and basic necessities that other neighborhoods have. So, when I get asked the question why are kids turning to guns, it’s a resource that’s there for them to solve some of their problems, and where society at large hasn’t invested in some of these neighborhoods in a very long time.”

Reverend Ackerman told 19 News that the plan for the Canton Kids summer program is to make sure kids have fun by being able to safely play in the park and go on field trips.

But it’s also about saving young lives in a different way from the increasing gun violence.

Latoya Dickens-Jones, a Nurse Practitioner and officer of the Stark County Black Nurses Association, told me the reality is that children are living in more violent times.

“These kids are seeing stabbing, they’re seeing gunshot wounds, motorcycle accidents and suicides. We’ve had a lot fo teen violence and it’s teens against adults, and it’s fatal violence a lot of times,” Dickens-Jones said.

At least once a week beginning in June, Dickens-Jones and other medical professionals will teach first aid to children at parks in the Shorb neighborhood, Harmont on the northeast side, Gibbs on the near northeast, and a park on the southeast end.

Along with the first aid training for young people, a grant to Crossroads United Methodist Church will provide 100 first aid kits to local families.

Because even basic first aid can save lives, Dickens-Jones instructed, “First call for help and then apply pressure. Just teach them the basic things they can do to save the victim. And I think if you prepare them, they’ll be more active and reactive because, in situations like that, you can freeze up.”

A Teddy Bear Clinic will aid in the training because the young children will see their teddy bears receiving the medical attention.

It will also help prepare little ones so they’re not as frightened if they unfortunately are the victim.

Reverend Ackerman said for the kids it’s useful, vital information that years ago most of us would have learned at Girls and Boy Scouts, “There’s that time before first responders get there and if you have some basic knowledge to stop bleeding or do the right thing before those first responders get there anyone can be a lifesaver.”

A plan focused on saving lives at a time when at least ten teens have been charged in Canton so far this year with gun-related crimes, several of them deadly.

In the past year, several Canton area teens have also died as the victims of shootings.

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