DECA project educates on stranger danger

Demopolis High DECA members Logan Boone and Bailey Petrey led a program entitled SCREAM: Stranger Danger last week to help inform young people of safety tips they can use in the event they are approached by unfamiliar individuals.

Bailey Petrey and Logan Boone hope their latest DECA project can ultimately land them a spot in national competition. First, however, the Demopolis High School tandem is looking for the initiative to hit home.

The duo’s project, SCREAM: Stranger Danger, began to take shape last week when they – along with a group of friends from DECA – visited Westside Elementary School as well as daycare centers Tender Years and Stay & Play to help educate young people on some of the dangers that exist for small children.

“We wanted to do something we could relate to. Not that either one of us have been lured by strangers, but we both have younger siblings we wanted to protect from those danger,” Petrey said. “Kids nowadays don’t seem to realize that things like abduction could happen everywhere, including Demopolis.”

The first challenge the group faced was designing the project in such a manner that it could be easily understood by some of the city’s youngest children. With audiences as young as three years old, SCREAM: Stranger Danger had to rely o

Houston Davis works with a group of Westside Elementary School students at last week’s SCREAM: Stranger Danger program.

n visual aides and a skit as well as an activity in which children were allowed to practice screaming for help.

“We had to make it where 3 to 6 year olds could really grasp our idea,” Boone said. “We really had to pay attention to our choice of words to make sure they could understand everything we were saying.”

After spending most of the week teaching children of the importance of the buddy system, which individuals could be considered safe and approachable and which to avoid, the DECA team came away with a positive impression of their efforts.

“The children were mainly very interested in the presentation. The skit really allowed them to grasp the concept, and it brought it to their level of understanding which created a good connection between us and our audience,” Boone said. “They really seemed to understand it and they interacted well.”

The next phase of the project will see the group market its information at the city’s largest annual gathering, Christmas on the River.

“We will have a Christmas on the River booth where we will pass out flyers and wristbands. There we can reach outside of Demopolis because COTR brings in such a wide variety of people from all over Alabama,” Petrey said. “We hope to also go to (U.S. Jones Elementary School) or (Demopolis Middle School) and bring a more mature presentation to the 3rd-6th graders.”

While it remains to be seen exactly how their project will fare at DECA competition, Petrey and Boone have already found the endeavor to be a rewarding one.

“I’ve learned how rewarding it was to work with young children in such a positive way,” Boone said.

Petrey and Boone utilized the help of fellow DHS students Will Tucker, Sydney Pettis, Taylor Cooper, Kathlene Saliba and Houston Davis for their presentations.