Organizers of Magenu’s first ever Safety Day were expecting a turnout of approximately 500 and were astounded by the overwhelming response from the community.
“It was unbelievable,” Mrs. Shani verschleiser, director of Magenu, told VIN News. “We actually ran out of prizes, but everyone was very understanding. Despite the crowds and the lines, there was not one argument. It was a huge Kiddush Hashem.”
Magenu was founded one year ago as a concerted effort to educate school age children about personal safety and over the past year has presented its program to over 2300 Brooklyn yeshiva students, as previously reported on VIN News.
The event took place from noon to 6 PM in Marine Park and featured presentations from several safety organizations, many of whom had hands on displays.
“We had the NYPD Operation ID, which spoke about how to register kids,” said Zvi Gluck, a member of Magenu’s advisory board. “The Brooklyn District Attorney’s office did a presentation booth on their programs. The New York City Office of Emergency Management did a full display of how they operate during a mass disaster, giving kids the opportunity to enter their command vehicles and get a full tour of what goes on. The Fire Department brought in a fire simulator, which gave the kids an opportunity to practice the appropriate behaviors for a real fire and they also gave out safety materials and coloring books.
The New York State Police brought in a seatbelt convincer, a small machine that you sit in and lets you feel the impact of a five to seven mile per hour collision, showing kids how important seatbelts really are.”
“It was an amazing sight to see all the city and state agencies come out and educate our children in their respective fields of safety,” added Eli verschleiser of Magenu.
Flatbush Shomrim Safety Patrol brought a command center vehicle to the event, giving participants the opportunity to see how they operate in an emergency situation.
“Magenu’s work educating children about safety will hopefully mean fewer emergency situations that will require our participation,” said Chaim Deutsch, founder of Flatbush Shomrim. “You can have all the wealth and everything you need, but without knowing basic safety it means nothing. ”
Several children became separated from their families during the fair, giving organizers a firsthand opportunity to demonstrate basic safety procedures.
“We told them what to do, who to ask for help,” explained Mrs. Vershleiser. “Everyone was geared up for exactly these kinds of situations and we were able to drive home the concept that all Yiddishe children are our children and as a community, we have to take care of every not just our own children, but every child in our community.”
Inflatable rides that had been ordered for the event had to be cancelled at the last minute due to forecasted potential inclement weather, but the promised 8th Day concert went off as planned.
Organizers of the event are reporting that both participants and the local safety organizations who were in attendance found the afternoon to be both enjoyable and informative.
“I think everyone had a wonderful day,” said Mrs. Vershleiser. “The emergency groups who came have been wanting to do an event like this forever but never had an opportunity before. They were so impressed with the ahavas yisroel and the achdus they saw and we are already looking ahead to next year’s Safety Day Fair which we hope will be even bigger and better.”