Passport to Safety

8 Jun

 Just before I officially started at Alpha, I was invited to join a handful of employees in volunteering at Passport to Safety, an outdoor family event hosted by the City of Livonia and the Livonia Police Department.  I didn’t know what to expect except a lot of kids and maybe some rain, but the day turned out to be a really rich experience.

The event itself provides safety demonstrations and information for kids, with booths sponsored by local businesses.  Stefan coordinates Alpha’s booth, and with his help Alpha has sponsored the 9-1-1 booth for six years running.  At the booth, four actual police officers from the dispatch office sit down across from four kids, and using real phone lines (set up by Stefan), the officers and the kids enact a 9-1-1 call.  

A dispatch officer practices 9-1-1 emergency calls with an attendee at this year's Passport to Safety event.

When I first heard about the concept, it sounded great, but after watching it in person, I was blown away.  Listening to these kids describe their “emergencies” (the officers held up pictures of emergency situations, like a house fire or burglary) and talk to the officers, it struck me how helpful this could be if/when the kids ever have a real emergency.  Maybe they’ll be able to imagine they’re talking to the same officer, for instance, or they’ll at least know that they’ve done it before, so it’s not so scary.

 As for me, it was another great opportunity to meet Alpha employees.  Lori, Pinke, Mike and his wife, and Fred and his daughter all volunteered for shifts at the booth, helping Janice corral the kids.  Later in the day, Stefan and I were talking about what a unique thing it is for a company like Alpha to sponsor this event.  Unlike a lot of the other sponsors, Alpha has no real “interest” in community involvement—most people aren’t going to walk into Alpha and order a part.  But we do have an interest, and always have, and that’s to give back to the community.

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